If she can make it there, she’ll make it anywhere.
Imelda, that’s who, through Here Lies Love, a rock musical adapted from the concept album of the same title that made its debut at The Public Theater in New York City in 2013.
The musical, a collaboration between David Byrne and Fatboy Slim about the rise and fall of the former First Lady of the Philippines, along with the woman who raised her—Estrella Cumpas— is going to London and could be expected to take the foggy city by storm.
London is a familiar town to the Imeldific, whose three chidren went to boarding school there, gaining the accent that they eventually lost upon their return to the Philippines shortly before Edsa 1986.
Last week, those behind the project to bring Here Lies Love the rock musicale to the British capital placed an ad in a leading local newspaper, announcing open call auditions “for strong pop singers and dancers,” aged 20 to 35 of various ethnic backgrounds and proficient in the English language.
The London version targets a January 2015 opening date at The National Theater, joining another musical that is top-heavy with Filipino cast members—Miss Saigon at West End.
Just like its New York counterpart, London’s Here Lies Love takes off from a supposed declaration of the three words by Imelda during a visit to her husband Ferdinand Marcos’ embalmed body in his home province of Ilocos Norte.
That declaration was also said to be what the woman from “Tolouse” (French for Tolosa town in Leyte province from where Imelda hails and for which she was supposedly ridiculed) wanted to be her epitaph.
Banish the morbid thought because the unsinkable probinsyana, who became Miss Manila, is still very much around, up and about as she continues to serve as a representative of Ilocos Norte at the House of Representatives.
In fact, she turns 84 tomorrow and it would be far-fetched for the milestone to get more than a passing mention even among the most rabid of the Marcos bashers in the print and broadcast media.
Add the fact (or fiction, depending on which side of the bashing fence you are) that according to Here Lies Love the rock musicale, Imelda’s first boyfriend was Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and you have a potential blockbuster in London.
Which should make one wonder on who the first true love of the woman who would later charm Mao and Khadaffi really was.
In the rock musicale, Eleven Days is one of the 22 featured songs and apparently a reference to how long it took Ferdinand to sweep The Rose of Tacloban (another featured song) off her feet.
“Jilted” by Ninoy for somebody else, Imelda must have wished for fewer than 11 days to show her husband’s future political nemesis that Men Will Do Anything (still another featured song) for her.
There lied (or lay) love.