This summer, David Byrne is bringing disco to Broadway. Here Lies Love, the musical the Talking Heads frontman created with Fatboy Slim, will return from a six-year stage hiatus to join the big ranks just in time to follow up the April 2022 close of David Byrne’s American Utopia. The immersive 90-minute show chronicling the life of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos will be directed by Alex Timbers.
Led by only 15 actors, Here Lies Love replicates the fluid movement of a nightclub floor with a primarily standing-only audience that follows the ebbs and flows of the cast in the open space. Choreographed by Annie-B Parson, the musical will find a home at New York’s Broadway Theatre.
“I read that Imelda Marcos loved going to discos and that she had a mirror ball in her New York apartment and turned the roof of the palace in Manila into a disco,” Byrne said in 2013 ahead of Here Lies Love‘s initial run at the Public Theatre. “Here’s a kind of music that’s hedonistic and transcendent, that transports you to another world, and to me that captures some of what a powerful person is feeling. So it seemed like a natural soundtrack to this particular megalomaniac’s story.”
The musical’s post-pandemic return amplifies its themes of escapism and hedonism in the midst of a mainstream revival of dance music and the culture that orbits around it. While Bryne’s approach takes on a method closer to that of Donna Summers than recent explorations of the genre by Dua Lipa and Beyoncé, the music – first released as a conceptual album in 2010 – offered him a chance to toy with elements of pop that didn’t fit into the mold of his personal music endeavors.
Here Lies Love will be produced by Hal Luftig, Patrick Catullo, Diana DiMenna, Clint Ramos, and Jose Antonio Vargas. “As a team of binational American producers – Filipinos among us – we are thrilled to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway,” the producers shared in a joint statement. “We welcome everyone to experience this singularly exuberant piece of theatre. The history of the Philippines is inseparable from the history of the United States, and as both evolve, we cannot think of a more appropriate time to stage this show. See you on the dance floor!”