It's a monster musical that's blowing away Seattle audiences right now. We're talking about "Here Lies Love," currently on stage at Seattle Repertory Theatre. But , the show also has people saying, "How do I know that guy?" On ABC's hit show, "How to Get Away with Murder," Conrad Ricamora's character left audiences with a cliff hanger at the end of season three. And while fans try to wait for season four, they can get their Conrad fix right now.
"Here Lies Love" chronicles the rise and fall of the First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, and it's all set in a disco.
"It totally executes this idea that David Byrne had when he thought about this show in the first place," said Jaygee Macapugay, the actress playing Imelda Marcos. "He looked at Imelda Marcos and she had this disco ball installed into her apartment in New York and he thought, wow, this woman seems like she has her own soundtrack, and that soundtrack is disco. What would happen if you were to put her story into a disco and how would that lay out and how would that happen, and years later, here we are."
For both Jaygee and Conrad, it's something they've never experienced before.
"I've never been a part of something where you directly feel the audiences' energy as a performer," explained Conrad. "And, it affects your performance. And every audience has its own personality and you get into this space."
"To be able to have a narrative of a story where you're part of it the entire time and it moves, it's so thrilling to everyone involved, not just the cast members, but also the audience," continued Jaygee.
For Conrad, it's completely different from the work he does on ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder."
"Vocally is the biggest difference,' said Conrad. "Energy wise, we have to reach to the back row, even when we're up here. And TV and film, there's a mic right here and a mic usually above that picks up everything. And, then coming back to theater, it was like, oh wow, I need to do a lot more. I need to make this energy go out and send it out to a bigger space."
It won't be long before Conrad returns to the Thursday smash hit. He's now a series regular alongside Academy Award winner, Viola Davis.
"To work with Viola and all the other members of the cast, they're so amazing. It's really just a great learning experience," said Conrad. "I get a lot of letters about playing an Asian well, I am an Asian man, so I can't really play anything else. But, from other Asian men who are just really thankful to be seen as a whole human being and not a caricature, because we're not able to see ourselves a lot of times on screen or on stage in really well-rounded parts."
So will there be wedding bells when the show returns to TGIT this fall?
"I have no idea if there's a wedding in my future for next season," continued Conrad. "They don't tell us ahead of time, because they like to keep it open to feel like they can change the story if they feel like they want to make it go in a different direction. And, the stuff with Laurel's dad setting up the murder. I think we're going to learn a lot about Laurel's past and I don't know about this wedding."
"Here Lies Love" has become so popular, Seattle Rep extended show dates through June 18.