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Scene Structure: Song by Song

Imelda Marcos
Estrella Campos

Ensemble parts:
Ferdinand Marcos
Ninoy Aquino
Remedios — Imelda's mother
Blue Ladies

Prologue: opening disco number — “Here Lies Love”
Act I: Flashback to Imelda's childhood
Act II: Imelda and Marcos climb to power
Act III: The divide between the Marcoses and the Philippines widens
Act IV: Imelda's downfall



1. “Here Lies Love” Opening Disco Number — evocative of Studio 54

Imelda at a disco in the late 70s,  where she spent time with all the “beautiful people” — Christina Ford, George Hamilton, Kissinger, et. al. Here Lies Love is what she is quoted as wanting inscribed on her grave.

[Sung by Imelda with chorus — full cast.]


2. “Every Drop of Rain”

“When you're poor you feel every drop of rain.” During Imelda's childhood, Estrella, the housekeeper, raised her. They were fairly close in age but Estrella became a mother to Imelda — she took care of her and the rest of her family in every way. Estrella, Imelda, her mother, and her brother, lived in a leaking garage alongside a broken-down car. They slept on boards, while their wealthier relatives lived in the big house next door. At night Imelda's mother often cried, so the children usually slept with Estrella.

[A duet between Imelda and Estrella — they were close at this point.]

3. “You’ll Be Taken Care Of”  — Estrella & The Promise

On her deathbed, Imelda’s mother Remedios promises her servant Estrella that in return for her selfless devotion to their family she’ll always be taken care of by Remedios’ children, among them Imelda. 

[Sung by Imelda's mother Remedios to Estrella]

4. “The Rose of Tacloban” — Imelda in Leyte

As a young girl new to the big city, Imelda briefly dates Benigno Aquino. He is her first serious crush, but he breaks off the relationship. This slight is not forgotten. 

[Sung by Imelda]

5. “How Are You?” Estrella Visits Imelda in the Piano Store

When Imelda first moves to Manila, Estrella seeks her out, and they have a cordial lunch.  Imelda is relatively poor (though now she lives with wealthier relatives) and works in a piano store — her first job in the big city. They are on more or less equal footing.

[Sung by Estrella]

6. “A Perfect Hand”

Marcos is an ambitious, young candidate from Ilocos Norte. He spotted Imelda on a magazine cover where she was featured as Miss Manila.

[Sung by Ferdinand Marcos]

7. “Eleven Days” — Imelda Meets Marcos

The whirlwind courtship between Marcos and Imelda. Just after they meet, he sends her two roses  — one fully blown and the other just a bud. Eleven days after they met he got her to sign a marriage license.

[Sung by Imelda]

8. “Walk Like A Woman” — Pygmalion & Transformation

Marcos remakes Imelda after they’re married — he dictates how much she can eat, what she should wear, how she should walk.  It is difficult for her to adjust to the demands of public life, the makeover — and she has a nervous breakdown. She is sent to a psychiatric hospital in New York.  Her psychiatrist tells her she has to change her own will using auto-suggestion to embrace her husband’s life.  She returns to Manila transformed, ready to begin work. She is a changed woman.

[Sung by Imelda with Ferdinand present]

9. “Don’t You Agree?”

Imelda is completely determined during her husband's first political campaigns, she travels all over the country, memorizing details about the locals in each town, learning everything about all the delegates, and singing songs at rallies. She throws herself into political life, and Marcos wins.

[Sung by Imelda with Ferdinand present]

10. “Ladies In Blue”

A group of Manila society ladies help on the campaign and become Imelda’s team. They pop amphetamines to keep their energy up. Imelda has turned the tables, and now has upper class women working for her.

[Sung by the Blue Ladies]

11. “When She Passed By” — Estrella Visits

Estrella comes to Marcos’ inauguration but isn’t let in.  Estrella sees Imelda in her car, but isn’t acknowledged.

[Sung by Estrella, with Imelda present at top of song]

12. “A Pretty Face” — Good Works

Imelda builds hospitals, roads, and institutes a clean-up program for an insane asylum she calls Operation Snake Pit.  She establishes orphanages and provides care for the elderly. The Filipino people acknowledge her contributions and her good works. At this point the Marcoses are popular, young and beautiful.

[Sung by Imelda with Marcos present]

13. “A Whole Man”

Imelda elucidates her cosmic theories of the true, the good, and the beautiful, accompanied by her drawings. Imelda often showed these drawings to foreign journalists, and also put them forward in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

[Sung by Imelda with Marcos present]

14. “American Troglodyte"

A song about the Marcoses' counterparts in the U.S.

[Sung by Ensemble]

15. “Dancing Together” 

Imelda’s philosophy of why she needs to be beautiful for the Filipino people. A song about the exciting world of socialites, celebrities and expensive items.

[Sung by Imelda with chorus]


16. “Men Will Do Anything”

Marcos’ affair with “B movie” actress Dovie Beams becomes public knowledge. When it can no longer be denied by Marcos, Imelda assumes the upper hand in the relationship. Her relationship with Marcos is all business now.

[Sung by Imelda with chorus]

17. “Never So Big” — Estrella Turned Away

Estrella comes to Leyte when Imelda is on a state visit, but she is told that Imelda is sleeping.  Estrella has to catch the last jeepney, so she returns home again without any contact.

[Sung by Estrella]

18. “Please Don't”

Imelda becomes a global diplomat, meeting with Qadaffi, Mao, Kissinger, Castro, Ford, Bush Sr. and many others. Marcos is on a dialysis machine, largely immobilized from this point on.

[Sung by Imelda — with chorus]


19. “Solano Avenue” — Estrella Paid Off and Under House Arrest

After the publication of a bio on Imelda, in which Estrella describes the destitution of Imelda's childhood, Estrella is kept in a ‘safe house' in Manila under guarded escort, and is subsequently moved to Leyte. She was also barred from communication with any member of the press.

[Sung by Imelda, Estella (with chorus)

20. “Seven Years” — Imelda meets Aquino in New York

Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, the opposition leader, had been jailed for 7 years, but Imelda had allowed him to leave the Philippines for a heart operation. Afterwards, she tells someone that if Aquino attempts to return against the Marcos' wishes he will not do so alive.   Aquino does eventually return, and is assassinated as he exits the plane (the U.S., longtime supporter of the Marcoses, now begins to have doubts about the wisdom of standing by the regime.)

[Duet sung by Imelda and Aquino]

21. “Order 1081” — Estrella’s House is Bulldozed

Martial law is declared (Order 1081) by Marcos to sort out the chaos, crime, communism and corruption — all of which was largely created by him — it also allows him to stay in power past his 2-term limit. At this time Estrella is living in the slums of the bayshore area on the edge of Manila.  As part of Imelda’s clean-up campaign for an IMF and World Bank Conference (October 1976) Estrella’s house is bulldozed, along with thousands of others.

[Sung by Estrella with full chorus]

22. “Why Don’t You Love Me?”

Imelda and Estrella meditate on the sacrifices they have made. Imelda and Marcos have abdicated and are airlifted by Marines. Imelda says she doesn't understand why the people don't love her anymore; she looks forward to her eventual vindication and a triumphant return.

[Sung by Imelda and Estrella]

23. "Here Lies Love" (Reprise)