Musical on Imelda Marcos raises funds for Philippine typhoon victims

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 27, 2013

NEW YORK – In a one-night only performance in New York City Monday night, the disco musical, “Here Lies Love” concert for the Philippines raised more than $100,000 to benefit the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.

Even without its trademark 360-degree scenic and video environment, close to 3,000 people came to experience David Byrne’s hit musical about the rise and fall of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos.

The former “Talking Heads” frontman said the extraordinary super typhoon in the Philippines calls for extraordinary help from people around the world. “We, who did this show, feel a special connection to the Philippines. A large part of the cast are Filipinos and the show is about the resilience of the Filipino people,” he said.

It all started with an email from Ruthie Ann Miles, the Korean-American actress playing the role of Rose of Tacloban (Imelda). She said, “I sent an email to David (Byrne) but that’s all I did. David said yes and David sent it out and those people said yes. And then people bought tickets and those people said yes. And because everyone has a heart that said yes, all of this happened.”

Jose Llana, who played the role of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, said this benefit concert about the first lady from Tacloban is a timely but sad coincidence. He remarked, “It was the first time that anyone in America heard about Leyte or Tacloban but we all knew of it very well so that specifically made all of us feel like it was our responsibility to do something just because of that really horrible coincidence.”

All proceeds from the concert will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, a Paris-based physicians group that has provided medical relief to Yolanda victims.

As cast members waived their talent fees, the popular music venue “Terminal 5” did not charge for the use of their multi-level event site, that includes its union workers who donated their time for the Philippines.

Miles said, at first glance, viewers would think the musical is all about Imelda Marcos, but she said it’s not — it’s about people coming together in the spirit of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

She concluded, “You see people when they get together peacefully, they can make a huge change and I think that’s a message that could still… its very applicable there now.”

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    28 November 2013 at 6:17 am - Reply

    Its so amazing that the promoter of this fund raiser show is using Yolanda to increase ticket sales and nothing really goes to disaster victims .

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