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Five, The Parody Musical

Using "Six The Musical" as its structure, this new show examines the women in the life of former president Donald Trump in satiric fashion.

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The company of “Five, The Parody Musical” at Theater 555 (Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel)

Victor Gluck, Editor-in-Chief

Victor Gluck, Editor-in-Chief

Six, the musical that examines the lives of the wives of Henry VIII, has given birth to the diverting Five, The Parody Musical. Using the same format, Five has the women in the life of former president Donald Trump (ex-wives, current wife, former girlfriend, and favorite daughter) ask a similar question: which one had it worst? Just like in Six, after introducing the women, the new show with book and lyrics by Shimmy Braun and Moshiel Newman Daphna and music and lyrics by Billy Recce (Singfeld!, currently at The Theater Center) gives each of them a song of her own to plead her case. Not surprisingly, a surprise guest (drag queen Jasmine Rice LaBeija) turns up who unsurprisingly turns out to be Hillary Clinton whose life was also greatly affected by The Donald. Each has her own accent and axe to grind.

Each of the women has her own signature style and her own color in Florence D’Lee’s memorable costumes: Anyae Anasia in black with hair in a beehive (hair and wig design by Ian Joseph) as ex-wife Ivana with a pronounced Czech accent is the most forceful. Gabriella Joy Rodriguez as Marla dressed in a white tutu is cheerful and buoyant. Jaime Lyn Beatty plays current wife Melania in a tight–fitting blue outfit, a Slovenia accent and a gloomy and somber attitude. Gabi Garcia is Stormy, ex-mistress, dressed in a leopard skin body suit covered by a red leather dominatrix outfit with high red boots, perky and bright. Hannah Bonnett’s daughter Ivanka dressed in a short pink summer dress with spaghetti straps is whiney and complaining. The women bitch about life in general, insult each other – and the important man in their life.

Anyae Anasia as Ivana (center) with the company of “Five, The Parody Musical” at Theater 555 (Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel)

The show directed and choreographed in fast pace by Jen Wineman is performed revue/cabaret style in a red, white and blue presidential type set by David Goldstein. The premise is that the five women have come to Ronkokoma’s premier public access TV Station for a primary debate to decide who had it the worst, with the audience to vote. As one often expects in parody, the new songs satirize recognizable iconic songs mainly from famed Broadway musicals: Ivana’s “You Veel Always Love Me (Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”); Marla’s “Un-popular” (Wicked’s “Popular”); “Melania’s Melodiya”’s “Everything was better with potato” takes on A Chorus Line’s “Everything was beautiful at the ballet”; Stormy’s “Storm’s Comin’ In” (Paint Your Wagon’‘s “There’s a Coach Comin’ In”); Ivanka’s “Kiss Me Daddy One More Time” (parodying “Hit Me Baby One More Time” from Britney Spears’ Once Upon a One More Time.)

When she arrives dressed in a white pant suit, Labeija steals the stage with Hillary’s number “Miss Me Now” which trumps them all with a series of Broadway parodies paying tribute to Clinton’s love of the theater, with recognizable quotes from The Sound of Music, Company, Gypsy, Chicago, Evita,  Thoroughly Modern Millie and Dreamgirls. However, while all of this is clever, at times the show becomes “can you identify this parody.” A “Six Mixalot” for the company takes the same place as “The Megasix” in Six. Lena Gabrielle does fine work with the four-person all-female band but the sound design by Bailey Trierweiler, Kevin Heard and Uptown Works is often too loud for this small Off Broadway theater.

Jaime Lyn Beatty as Melania (center) with the company of “Five, The Parody Musical” at Theater 555 (Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel)

Five, The Parody Musical is diverting and entertaining but it goes after easy targets. The cast have terrific voices and put over the parody songs which of course mostly sound like songs we have heard before. However, this fairly short show moves briskly and never outstays its welcome though it never quite skewers its targets as deftly as it wants to.

Five, The Parody Musical (extended through April 21, 2024)

Theater 555, 555 W. 42nd Street, In Manhattan

For tickets, visit http://www.FiveTheMusical.com

Running time: one hour and 25 minutes with no intermission

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Victor Gluck, Editor-in-Chief
About Victor Gluck, Editor-in-Chief (972 Articles)
Victor Gluck was a drama critic and arts journalist with Back Stage from 1980 – 2006. He started reviewing for TheaterScene.net in 2006, where he was also Associate Editor from 2011-2013, and has been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. He is a voting member of The Drama Desk, the Outer Critics Circle, the American Theatre Critics Association, and the Dramatists Guild of America. His plays have been performed at the Quaigh Theatre, Ryan Repertory Company, St. Clements Church, Nuyorican Poets Café and The Gene Frankel Playwrights/Directors Lab.

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