The new musical opening Thursday, April 7 at Seattle Repertory Theatre has theatergoers counting the hours to the opening curtain. The only problem, there won't be a curtain. There's not really a stage in the traditional sense, and most of the audience will be standing. Confused? Don't worry, it's going to be a lot of fun!
Audiences who come to the Rep's Here Lies Love will find themselves immersed in the middle of a theatrical dance party.
"We've sort of blown out the proscenium and we're building a giant structure that holds the whole show within it," explained Elisabeth Farwell-Moreland, the show's producing director. "So we have some seats in the balcony you can look down into the space, but ultimately the show takes place in a disco. So, we're creating a big room and 200 members of the audience are going to be standing in that dance floor of the show happening around them. So, it's basically creating a whole new Seattle Rep playing space that's nothing like our audiences have ever seen."
Elisabeth Farwell-Moreland is the producing director for Here Lies Love. She's worked day in and day out with architects, engineers and even the city of Seattle to get the theater ready.
"We have to make sure that everything is permitted and meets the seismic requirements in building a space like this in a city that has a history of past earthquakes," said Farwell-Moreland.
The musical by former Talking Head front man, David Byrne, and DJ Fatboy Slim, tells the story of the rise and fall of former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos.
"It seems when you first listen to it, it's a great party show and it's really celebratory and the music is amazing," continued Farwell-Moreland. "And that's all true, but it also tells the story of the culture of that area and the time and I think it's a story we don't know well enough. We immerse the audience, we bring them in, we ask them to become part of the entire experience and see the story from within as opposed to just looking at it from the outside. I think people are going to be stunned about how moving the story is and how deep into it it goes for a musical."
And while most musicals have an orchestra or band... not this show.
"The sound itself is karaoke. It's not a live band. So, all of the sound has to be timed with the light cues, the projections, so it's hugely technical," explained Farwell-Moreland. "We add in audience wranglers. And, the audience wranglers actually work with the audience standing in the sort of mosh pit/dance floor. Anytime scenery moves, the audience wranglers help them stay out of the way and make sure they're safe. So the whole thing is monitored within an inch of its life. And I can't wait to see it with the actors in the space. It's pretty cool. But I want to see it when it's ready, I'm excited."
Here Lies Love opens April 7 at the Rep and runs through May 28. Click here for ticket information.