Killin’ Republicans may sound like an extreme anti-GOP motto, but it’s a hilarious reference to American politics looking back 150 years or so. Perhaps the sequel is Killin’ Democrats or Progressives? Put on your thinking caps for a wild rock n’ roll ride through American history linked by actress Jodie Foster and her famous, bizarre, and twisted encounter with neo-Nazi stalker John Hinckley, Jr.
Let’s look at John Hinckley and his thinking that assassinating a president was the way to a woman’s heart! Talk about a grand romantic gesture…but not really. Hinckley’s infatuation with Jodie Foster was way beyond your average celebrity crush, and it’s not like Hinckley had a chance with Foster anyway. This guy was writing letters, recording songs, and endlessly stalking her. And let’s not forget that his obsession led him to attempt the unthinkable.
For a moment, contemplate Hinckley’s psychotic obsession with Foster after seeing her in the film Taxi Driver (1976). In the movie, protagonist Travis Bickle plots to assassinate a presidential candidate. Hinckley’s warped attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan was meant to impress Foster.
We were welcomed by two flight attendants (Gabriel Winkler and Ava Jones) who launched the rock n’ roll flying circus of dance, music, history, and humor. On this virtual flight, supported by visual screen projections, the flight Captain (Youssef Alaoudi-Flidi) emitted slightly non sequitur announcements from the cockpit.
Foster (Abby Gumpper) is in first-class seating on a transatlantic flight headed to the States. Billybob from Biloxi (Edwin Vazquez), a guitar-wielding wealthy young oil man dressed in rockabilly garb, is seated beside his Nigerian Afrobeat star wife (Queen Koleurz Koluchi), who is learning about US presidents for her citizenship exam.
The story hilariously weaves through the topsy-turvy chaos and machinations of American politics and polarizing figures, mudslinging campaigns, and assassination attempts. The cast danced and sang through the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, and William McKinley, tying it all together with a neat little bow of the Hinckley Foster matter.
I couldn’t help but joke with the staff as I entered the theater’s lobby. The title, although misleading on the surface, was undoubtedly intriguing and funny. After all, the show was billed as a rock n’ roll opera.
Author Dick D. Zigun asks, “What happens in the conversation when actress Jodie Foster, a Nigerian Afrobeat star, and her Mississippi oilman husband get drunk together in first class on a transatlantic flight?” His response is to create a new rock opera named Killin’ Republicans!
The cast sang and danced with heart and passion. While the band was sometimes overpowering for the sound system on which the singers relied, the music was solid. The troupe danced through and interacted with the audience as smiles abounded.
Runtime was 90 minutes without intermission. The show runs through December 17.
Concept and libretto by Dick D. Zigun
Musical Director Arturo “Artie” Rodriguez
Production Manager Omar Villegas
Queen Koleurz Koluchi as Goodness Gracious
Edwin Vazquez as Billybob from Biloxi
Abby Gumpper as Jodie Foster
Gabriel Winkler and Ava Jones as Flight Attendants
Youssef Alaoudi-Flidi as Voice of the Captain.
Jordan Rodríguez, drums and percussion
John Plenge, guitar and keyboards
JOrdan (Rothstein), piano and keyboards.
Erin Mathewson designed Abraham Lincoln’s Top Hat.
Theater for the New City
Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director
155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003
Box office www.theaterforthenewcity.net, (212) 254-1109 THROUGH December 17