(From left to right) Actress Natalie Gallo as former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, actor Karl Kenzler as former President Bill Clinton and actress Alet Taylor as former First Lady Hillary Clinton rehearse a scene from Clinton: The Musical in the hallway before a preview in New York. (Reuters)
New York, July 8 (Reuters): Clinton: The Musical, a bawdy, raucous farce parodying the sex scandal that rocked the White House, with two actors portraying the dual sides of Bill Clinton, makes its US debut this month during the New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Critics have described the show that premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland in 2012 before transferring to London as “witty, quirky” and a “delicious political satire”.
The musical depicts Bill and Hillary Clinton’s attempts to save the presidency following his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“Our play is a loving poke at Bill Clinton,” Duke LaFoon, who portrays the Bill who gets into trouble, said at a preview. “He is quite the character, so there is a lot there to mine for jokes.”
Karl Kenzler, as WJ Clinton, is the idealistic politician who genuinely wants to change the country and help his fellow man. “Ultimately this show is a sharp farce. It's a parody and people make a lot of comparisons to South Park and The Book of Mormon,” Kenzler said, referring to the TV comedy.
Written by Australian brothers Paul and Michael Hodge, the show has performances between July 18 and 25th at the festival, a showcase for new musicals. The musical premieres in New York following publication of Hillary Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices.
The Clintons did not respond to a request for comment about the show. There are also portrayals of Lewinsky, former Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich and Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor who issued a report on the scandal.
“When she is asked specifically about the scandal her answer is, ‘I’m over that,’” said Alet Taylor, who plays Hillary. “She wants to move forward, so I don't know that our musical represents moving forward, but I think she is aware of it.”
Paul Hodge decided to write the musical after seeing a play in Australia with his family about a former Australian Prime Minister. The idea emerged when his dad suggested that Clinton's story would make a great musical.
Hodge was initially reluctant about having two actors play the former US leader, as suggested by his brother. Then he read Clinton’s autobiography. “He, himself, said he felt like he had led these two parallel lives and other people like his political advisor Dick Morris had little names for him like ‘Saturday night Bill’ and ‘Sunday morning president’ or the ‘the boy scout and the politician’”, said Hodge.