“Everything’s coming up Neurosis.” I hear that, and can totally relate to that sentiment. In the same performance realm of Forbidden Broadway, writer Robert Yarnall and Marc Emory, alongside director Michael Goldfried and music directer Anessa Marie, have crafted a zoomed-in timely and farcically fun musical parody Political Idol 2020 that makes its way most giddily onto our laptop just a week before Election Day. It’s totally silly and almost ridiculous in its playful wide political swings as it tries to be topical and relevant while also witty and irreverent. Filled to the drunken rim with clever twists and turns, it serves up a somewhat lighter and fluffier version of what Randy Rainbow does so impeccably well – although I must say that Randy‘s lyrics seem to sting and sing with a higher level of creativity and cleverness (I mean, check this Patti LuPone duet out right now if you haven’t seen it already).
Hosted by a bespeckled faux Oprah Winfrey (Davis), with constant interruptions by an orange Halloween-faced Donald Trump (Foster), the goofy characterizations portrayed by a game cast of vocally talented performers, are flung fast and furious. This is all being played out inside a makeshift singing competition where the winner takes the White House and the loser, well hopefully, wastes away in Mar-a-Lago-Ville (or prison, if it was up to me). Singing crafty lyrically-altered medleys of easily recognizable famous songs, the stars of the 2020 campaign season including Melania Trump (Antolik), Joe Biden (Foster), Amy Klobuchar (Antolik), Elizabeth Warren (Antolik), Nancy Pelosi (Antolik), Kimberly Guilfoyle (Antolik), Kamala Harris (Davis), Michelle Obama (Davis), Bill Barr (DiSalle), Mitch McConnell (DiSalle), Mayor Pete (Yarnall), and Bernie Sanders (Yarnall), find zingers and twists on musical phrases at every turn. It’s definitely left-leaning in its allegiance (although never enough for this Canadian), but finds a balance that is both comfortable and not for us big city liberals to hang out in.
Political Idol 2020 is nothing new, but it does find a fun wacky 45-minute playlist of sixteen lyrically altered songs that point their jabs clearly, anchored inside some classic melodies, such as a deliciously designed “I Really Need Your Vote” (“I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line), along with “Strangers on the Right” (“Strangers in the Night”), a sassy and smart “Seasons Of Trump” (Jonathan Larson’s “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”), a zingy “It’s Diversion” (Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”), “Fake” (Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”), and the wickedly wise Kamala Medley, delightfully squeezed out of Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” plus many more, with the only response being, Yes, “We Love You, Kamala.” And please don’t “repress yourself.”
The cast sings out strong, giving a much needed vocal kick to the fun mash-ups created for this comical tidbit. Performing with glee and good spirit are Lara Buck Antolik (Film: Lady Hunters), Enga Davis (Broadway: One Mo’ Time), Joe DiSalle, Scott Foster, and Robert Yarnall, The creative team, including Sara Jean Tosetti (Costume Designer), Quentin Madia (Choreography), James Rushin (Audio Engineer), Bruno-Pierre Houle (Virtual Production Designer), LCM247 (Video Production and Editing), Will Chaloner (Production Supervisor), Leah Michalos (Director Marketing), and LDK Productions/ Lisa Dozier King (General Management), has some playful fun with the straight-forward parody, with Marc Emory and Olson Rohdes (Executive Producers), and LCM247’s Patrick Heaphy (Producer), delivering the goods with crisp clear connotations, gifting us some relief from the tension of the week that lies ahead. I still have a hard time listening to that Orange Monster and his crew, even in playful jest, say those things, but all and all, it made me smile, against all the odds of the news cycle that keeps smashing us over the head day in and day out. This could help you survive the week ahead, although a good dose of Halloween “Hocus Pocus” on Disney+ or In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover this Friday night might do the trick (or treat) just as well, or even a bit wiser.
Political Idol 2020, written by Robert Yarnall and Marc Emory, directed by Michael Goldfried, with music direction by Anessa Marie debuts its newest 2020 edition October 27 and is available for streaming until November 4th, 2020. Tickets are $20.20 and can be purchased on PoliticalIdolLive.com. And finally, one last statement: “Please God, you need to vote.“