'Clinton: The Musical' gets U.S.
debut at NY theater festival
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[July 08, 2014]
By Patricia Reaney
NEW YORK (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 U.S. debut this month during the New York
Musical Theater 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
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
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 and hit
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," with the country
guessing about whether she will run for president in 2016.
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.
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"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 U.S. leader, as suggested by his brother. Then he read
"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.
Director Adam Arian collaborated with Hodge for nearly a year to
bring the musical to the United States.
"I think Bill Clinton has a certain humanity that endears him to
people and that he has both strengths and weaknesses and I think
people understand that he is a human being," said Hodge.
(Editing by Mary Milliken and David Gregorio)
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