By Daniel Dunlow
You read the title right. Clinton. Like Bill and Hillary. And from to moment I walked in and saw a set that was reminiscent of a Disney World version of the Oval Office, I thought I knew what I was in for. But oh boy, was I pleasantly surprised.
This 90-minute comedic musical captures the life of Bill and Hillary amidst the president’s two terms in office, complete with WhiteWater, HealthCare Reform, and Monica. No situation is off limits, and no joke is too cheap. This musical plunges you in the middle of the 1990s, a simpler time with tracksuits, fat ties, and strangely shaped iPhones. It balances the line of stupidity and pure hilarity (Hillarity.) But is worth the trip to New World Stages. So lets get on to the points to be made.
The Set- first thing to catch my eye. It was absolutely brilliant. It made use of the space and got out of the way for comedic things to happen. Beowulf Boritt is not doubt a genius. If you look hard at the set, you’ll see secret metaphors.
Kerry Butler– She played Hillary. She was very strong in the role with great comedic instincts. Her voice is superb. Possibly the best singing she has ever done.
John Treacy Egan– My god. He’s frickin’ hilarious. He’s perfect. He’s got a golden voice and a golden personality as Newt Gingrich.
Kevin Zak- Where have you been? NYC welcomes this comedic genius. His performance as Kenneth Starr is one to see and cherish.
Choreography- Could use some cutting. And by cutting, I mean all of it.
This brilliant comedy is filled with moments that made me and the entire audience laugh out loud and ask ourselves, “Can they say that?) It captures so much that we love about musical comedy. Despite it’s minor flaws of production here and there, it is a divine vehicle for amazing performances and some of the best musical comedy New York has seen in quite some time. The last time I laughed this hard at the theatre was a High School production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” but that laughter was for different reasons.
It respectfully runs the gamut of the Clinton family, using a Jekyll & Hyde type storytelling, and it leaves no door unopened. This musical also takes it’s time to remind the New York Theatre Community (as if it needed reminder) that we should vote for Hillary in 2016. So… Vote for Hillary and check out this great musical.
Clinton The Musical
Book by Paul Hodge and Michael Hodge; music by Paul Hodge; lyrics by Paul Hodge. Directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges; music direction, vocal arrangements by James Dobinson; Orchestrations by Neil Douglas Reilly; sets by Beowulf Borritt; costumes by David Woolard; lighting by Paul Miller; sound by Peter Fitzgerald; wig and hair design, Tom Watson; New World Stages, 340 W 50th Street; newworldstages.com. (212) 239-6200 Running time: 90 min.
WITH: Kerry Butler, Tom Galantich, Duke Lafoon, Judy Gold, John Treacy Egan, Kevin Zak, Veronica J. Kuehn, Kara Guy, Dale Hensley, Bob Richardson, and Gretchen Wylder