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H.E.R. Could EGOT With Disco-Pop Musical About an Infamous First Lady

Gabriella Wilson, known professionally as H.E.R., performs during 2023 New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival. She's holding a microphone above her head.

This summer, a rock musical adaptation of a David Byrne and Fatboy Slim concept album is coming to Broadway. That alone is a cool sentence. Here Lies Love tells the true story of Imelda Marcos, former First Lady of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. More on her in a bit. The cherry on top of that information parfait is that Gabriella “Gabi” Sarmiento Wilson, a.k.a. H.E.R., has joined the producing team of Here Lies Love on Broadway, according to Billboard, setting off a chain of events that could lead to H.E.R. becoming the youngest-ever EGOT winner. (That’s an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award if you didn’t watch 30 Rock already know.)

Wilson, who is 25 years old and half Filipina herself, channeled her musical theatre side recently with a televised turn as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, alongside two-time Tony nominee Josh Groban. The Broadway cast of Here Lies Love includes Arielle Jacobs (most famous for originating the role of Jasmine on Broadway in Aladdin), Conrad Ricamora (who you know from Fire Island and How To Get Away With Murder), Jose Llana, and for a limited time, the legend and third former Disney princess associated with this musical, Lea Salonga (Mulan).

“Filipinos are a global people,” Wilson said in a statement, per Billboard. “We come in all colors and build bridges across cultures. I am beyond excited to produce my first Broadway musical and forge a unique and meaningful partnership with Here Lies Love.”

Marcos is a controversial figure. She and her husband were dictators, and their family legacy is one of extravagance and corruption, according to an op-ed for by David A. Andelman. It took a coup to remove them from office, but not before Imelda had stolen grant money, demolished a slum displacing 60 families in the process, and collected 3,000 pairs of shoes. Those are just a few examples. She is often compared to Marie Antoinette, though, as a quote attributed to her pointed out, unlike the former French queen, she was not born into nobility (but still believed she had a right to it). This is, of course, not the first time that a musical has told the true story of a historical figure that was not universally liked, or even problematic. Other examples include Evita, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Hamilton.

H.E.R. is closer to an EGOT than you may think

It’s very, very cool that H.E.R. is producing … especially since she’s only a Tony away from EGOTing! She won her “E” at the Children and Family Emmy Awards for the short-form program We The People. She has a “G” five times over, including Best R&B Album in 2019 and Song of the Year in 2021. Wilson won her Oscar in 2021 for the song “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah. All she needs is that T. Currently, the youngest EGOT winner has been Avenue Q and Frozen composer Ropert Lopez, whose Oscar in 2014 completed the set when he was 39, so H.E.R. would be the youngest by far. (John Legend was also 39 when he completed his EGOT but was like … 39 and eight months. The Wikipedia page for EGOT is strict, y’all!)

Not that winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony is ever easy, but there are a few ways that those in the performing arts can check off missing awards if they aren’t composers. (Though there are as many composers with EGOTs as actors, one could win every award for composing alone. No multi-hyphenate required!) Actors can and do win Grammys for narrating audiobooks, and any celebrity can win a Tony by producing a play or musical.

It’s still not a guarantee, however

There are many plays and musicals produced on Broadway every year, and only ten will be nominated in either Best Play or Best Musical, and only two will win. But Mariah Carey is nominated for a Tony this year for helping to produce Some Like It Hot. Last year’s Best Musical winner, A Strange Loop, had celebrity producers including Mindy Kaling, Ilana Glazer, RuPaul, and Jennifer Hudson. They are all Tony winners now. Isn’t that wild?

So since there’s a lot of buzz behind Here Lies Love, it genuinely could happen, and I hope that this encourages more celebrities to get involved in live theatre! Come join us! Work on your EGOT while supporting fun, interesting, and original works of art like Here Lies Love! I can’t say I know a ton about investing, but this has to be one of the more rewarding ways to invest your money.

(featured image: Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

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Leah Marilla Thomas (she/her) is a contributor at The Mary Sue. She has been working in digital entertainment journalism since 2013, covering primarily television as well as film and live theatre. She's been on the Marvel beat professionally since Daredevil was a Netflix series. (You might recognize her voice from the Newcomers: Marvel podcast). Outside of journalism, she is 50% Southerner, 50% New Englander, and 100% fangirl over everything from Lord of the Rings to stage lighting and comics about teenagers. She lives in New York City and can often be found in a park. She used to test toys for Hasbro. True story!