THOUGHTS: Livin’ La Vida Imelda at The Clurman (Theater Row)


Credit: Web Begole

I am excited and surprised to say that there are 2 shows in Manhattan that depict the luxurious life of Imelda Marcos, former First Lady of the Philippines. A life of portrayed innocence in the global eye unfolds with scandal and conspiracy on 42nd Street. For those of you who have seen the musical, Here Lies Love and are intrigued by this legend of the Philippines, you may want to spend 90 minutes – no intermission – with Carlos Celdron (Writer and Performer). Make yourself comfortable in his living room-like set and dive into the more factual life of this politician’s wife.


Credit: Web Begole

Carlos, Filipino tour guide, cultural activist, and performing artist, has created a play that takes you from Imelda’s birth through the climb to her infamous life of luxury, adorned with beauty pageants, disco balls, and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. While each moment is saturated with facts and expert anecdotes, you may find that this lecture-like style of storytelling is more a heightened history book at play. With the 4th wall tossed aside, Carlos is extremely passionate about the “The Former First Lady” and the transcendence of Filipino Culture to Off-Broadway and beyond. Moments of audience polling, and stand-up comedy, color the story with casual theatricality that fit Carlos’ performance of point of view. If you are more a foe than fan of Imelda Marcos, you will find more comfort in your opinion of Mrs. Marcos than at the disco Downtown. Carlos does an entertaining job of staying neutral, but — as usual with politics — he’s chosen a party. “The bitch is back,” flies throughout the house in his closing arguments, but you can take a picture with “Imelda Marcos” in her iconic butterfly sleeves outside the theatre after the show.

Carlos Celdron carries the walking-tour flag of his culture and speaks to the idea that Imelda Marcos carried the torch for the arts of her people in an effort to commercialize the Philippines in the global economy. This piece raises the important question that many people in New York City wonder, “How can I hold on to my roots in America?” Livin’ La Vida Imelda and Ma-Yi Theater Company have offered another opinion on the Marcos Administration and I encourage you to check it out! Why not see Here Lies Love (currently running at The Public) and then catch the subway Uptown to listen to Carlos’ stories of this powerful woman who’s life is worthy of 2 plays and more?


Credit: Web Begole

Reasons to go:

  1. Carlos Celdron has crafted a work of love and passion.
  2. Expose yourself to the stories of Imelda Marcos, you won’t be disappointed.
  3. Free chocolate (if you answer his questions correctly)
  4. Support #DiversityOnStage
  5. Support Ma-Yi Theater Company (website)
  6. This play is a part of Ma-Yi Theater’s “Breaking the Myth” series and “plays in rep” with Chairs and a Long Table

Themes: Comedy, Politics, Filipino Culture

Advisory: 90 minutes, No Intermission, Audience Participation

Show information:

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