Theater review: Is the future of staged theater “Here Lies Love”?

Ruthie Ann Miles is Imelda Marcos in "Here Lies Love" at The Public Theater through June 2. Credit: Joan Marcus
Ruthie Ann Miles is Imelda Marcos in “Here Lies Love” at The Public Theater through June 2.
Credit: Joan Marcus

Is it hyperbole to say that David Byrne has reinvented the stage musical with his thrilling “Here Lies Love” at The Public Theater? Byrne’s foray into the theater world is a breath of orchid-scented fresh air as he recounts the story of everyone’s favorite Filipina, the ever-fascinating fashionista Imelda Marcos, with a disco-infused beat and help from co-composer Fatboy Slim. Jumpsuited young traffic cops shepherd the dancing audience – seating is nonexistent in the main section – out of harm’s way as the shoulder-level turntable swings round to accommodate the flow of actors between the two stages at either end of the rectangular space and on to the catwalks on the side.

Virtually sung-through, “Love” follows its heroine from her early days as a rural beauty queen to her zenith as jet-setting first lady and subsequent fall from grace. We learn that she was first the girlfriend of Ferdinand Marcos’ most strident opponent, Benigno Aquino, and that she suffered deeply through her husband’s much-publicized affair with American actress Dovie Beams. We feel for Imelda when she plaintively asks, “Why don’t you love me?”

As if the driving music were not enough of an invitation, the MC encourages the audience – strongly – to dance along, but don’t be intimidated. If you can do the bunny hop at a wedding, just jack up the rhythm and you’ll be fine. Director Alex Timbers and his crackerjack design team execute Byrne’s vision with breathtaking flair. It’s a hell of a good time.

If you go

‘Here Lies Love’
Through June 2
The Public Theater,
425 Lafayette St.
$89-$94, www.publictheater.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.