Love ’em or leave em, it is hard to deny the impact of larger than life politicians, Bill and Hillary Clinton. How can we forget the bountiful years of economic growth, the (dare I say it) “ambitious” first lady who tackled health care problems, and of course, the intern who shook a nation.
Just in time for Hillary’s announcement of a Presidential bid comes Clinton The Musical, a smartly satirical reflection of the trials and tribulations of William Jefferson Clinton and his family. Director and choreographer Dan Knechtges has assembled a hugely entertaining and talented cast that will leave audiences aghast and amused.
Paul and Michael Hodge have written a keenly insightful book incorporating not one, but two Bill Clintons into the script. One is the stately, professional, and polished politician (Tom Galantich); the other is a good ‘ole boy skirt chasin’ philanderer (Duke Lafoon). Both actors beautifully capture the duplicitous essence of our 42nd president. Kerry Butler assumes the role of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and while she is a fine actor with a dynamic voice, it’s hard not to sense a bit of miscasting here. Butler’s natural girlishness lacks the edge needed to fully embody Mrs. Clinton.
John Treacy Egan and Kevin Zak steal the show as Newt Gingrich and Kenneth Starr (respectively), a maniacal duo with an unquenchable thirst to bring down the President. Judy Gold also adds hilarity as both the Ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt and Linda Tripp. The real firecracker here, though, is Veronica J. Kuehn who recreates the infamous girl in the blue dress, Monica Lewinksy. Her number about her tryst with the President, “Monica’s Song” is a gleeful, upbeat R- rated dittie that will, no doubt, have you in stitches.
Clinton The Musical is everything great satire ought to be: clever, funny, well-acted, and above all, thoughtful. No matter what side of the aisle you favor, this is one wild party you won’t want to miss.
Clinton The Musical plays Off Broadway at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street between 8th and 9th avenue. For tickets and information, please visit the box office or http://clintonthemusical.com/ . ***Special $20.16 seats available for a limited time. ***