Here lies loss: Imelda-inspired Broadway musical to close on 26 November

After 33 previews and 149 regular performances, the controversial Broadway musical Here Lies Love is set to have its final curtain call on 26 November due to financial issues, as announced by the production on 8 November.

The show has struggled to maintain its expenses reportedly due to low ticket sales despite positive reviews from critics and audiences.

According to The Washington Post, the show has incurred significant losses since it costs about $700,000 (P39 million) to be able to have weekly stage performances, but only makes about $500,000 to $620,000 (P28 million to P34.7 million) weekly.

The musical has been hailed as a unique and unconventional experience on Broadway, offering a “dance floor” section for audiences instead of the traditional orchestra seats — allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the disco-pop musical that charts the rise of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos and her husband, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., all the way to the EDSA Revolution that ousted them from power.

Despite the sad news, the production team said in a statement that it was honored to show trailblazing Filipino representation on Broadway: “As the first-ever fully binational producing team, we are deeply proud and honored to have brought this pioneering theatrical event to Broadway. The first all-Filipino acting company on Broadway received universal critical acclaim, celebrated by thousands of people from diverse backgrounds, including record numbers who experienced going to a Broadway show for the first time.”

In a Facebook post, Jose Llana, the Filipino-American actor who plays Marcos Sr. in the show, invited viewers to catch the musical before it closes.

“Absolutely nothing but pride & joy for this incredible show and company. Come see us before November 26,” he wrote.

Its Broadway closing, however, won’t be the end of the musical written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Plans are in motion to bring the musical to Japan and Australia, according to Playbill.

Here Lies Love originally began as a concept album in 2010, featuring singers like Cyndi Lauper, Sia, Florence Welch and more. It became a full-blown musical in 2013, premiering off-Broadway in New York City and eventually in London and Seattle.

The Broadway incarnation, directed by Alex Timbers and headlined by international superstar Lea Salonga who was also among the show’s Filipino producers, opened on 20 July, to mostly superlative reviews. “The groundbreaking, floor-shaking Here Lies Love makes space for itself like no Broadway show ever has,” raved Time Out New York. “A ravishing sensory experience unlike any other,” echoed the New York Post, while the Wall Street Journal said its “irresistible score is… like nothing else on Broadway.”