Javanka: The Misadventures of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner – An Interview

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Javanka. Photo (c) Ryan Brinkmann.

The Interview: Sarah Naughton about her latest cabaret show Javanka

By Michael Raver
Actress/comedian Sarah Naughton has her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. On February 15th, Naughton will unveil her latest cabaret show, Javanka: Back in New York. Debuting at Feinstein’s 54 Below, the piece concerns the misadventures of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner and features songs from Company, A Chorus Line, Fiddler on the Roof, as well as a few original compositions.
Naughton, who is no stranger to performing at the Broadway Supper Club (she performed her solo show, Trapped In The Closet, to a packed house), is all smiles as she spills some details on politics, music, and that our way out of complete frustration has to be humor. Along with producing partner, Jake Weinstein, Naughton’s mission is to take something maddening and turn it toward the absurd. And hilarious.
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javanka titleWhat inspired the writing and development of this show?
We were working on a short set for a musical comedy show with an Into the Woods theme. As we were brainstorming I remember suggesting we do the act as Jared and Ivanka. But, Jake remembers that he was the one who came up with it! Either way, we both instantly recognized it was a great idea and we got to work on a full length show as Javanka!
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How did you and Jake start working together?
We both went to NYU so we knew a lot of the same people. But, our collaboration began in the summer of ‘15. We were both hired to workshop and devise a presentation of a new musical at the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival. We just immediately clicked and worked together so well that we began to partner up for more and more projects, like our last piece, Trapped In The Closet.
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Photo by Jessica Osber.

What’s the best part of collaborating with him?

He has an incredible work ethic and is a bit of a perfectionist, so he holds me to a high standard. He encourages me to be the best I can be. And, he brings so so much to the table. He’s a brilliant music director, composer, lyricist, and performer. He is a never-ending talent!
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Is there anything positive to glean from the show about Ivanka and The Trump administration?
Other than that they provide excellent fodder for satire, I’m not sure! Maybe a glimmering light at the end of the tunnel that this will hopefully all come crumbling down some day soon.
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Do you believe that comedy/performance can impact the political realm?
Absolutely! Art/ performance / comedy hits us in our guts. Art makes us feel, gets us fired up, and I believe that emotional inspiration causes action and change. Also, I think artists are able to be honest in a way that traditional news outlets aren’t. No one big and powerful is paying my salary. I’m not held accountable to anyone and can say whatever I want. Comedians are able to be a bit more incisive that way.
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What do you want audiences to walk away with after seeing it?
We hope to give people a good laugh about the absurdity of our current political situation. And get them wondering who does a better job performing Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump: me and Jake, or Jared and Ivanka?
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JAVANKA: BACK IN NEW YORK
Friday, February 15th at 9:30pm
Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W. 54th St. New York NY
To purchase tickets:
For more information about Sarah Naughton:
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Javanka photos (c) Ryan Brinkmann.
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