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Me the People: Fire and Fury Edition

Slings and arrows slung and shot at Donald Trump in the updated musical review.

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Mia Weinberger and Joe Marx as “Ivanka and Jared” in a scene from “Me the People: Fire & Fury” (Photo credit: Stephen Schwartz)

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

You’d need a ten ton truck to haul away all the slings and arrows slung and shot at Donald Trump in Me the People: Fire & Fury Edition, the red-hot political revue currently on stage at the Laurie Beechman Theatre.

Written by the sharp-witted Nancy Holson whose hilarious lyrics repurpose many well-known songs for her nefarious criticisms of our misbegotten president, the show is an update of an earlier version.

Music director James Higgins takes on the persona of a smooth lounge pianist at the Trump Hotel and Lounge in D.C. playing a snide Greek chorus.  He keeps the show together with his faux insouciance and witty musicianship.  He even evokes the “relatively innocent” days of Nixon who sings a twisted “My Way.”

The show is structured as a series of skits, short ones alternating with longer ones.  A running joke is a Twitter Bird (a wonderful Vanessa Robinson), complete with bird head and feathered wings, who, to the tune of “Rockin’ Robin,” goes bonkers, constantly awakened at 3 A.M. by Trump’s maddening bathroom tweets.

Vanessa Robinson in “The Twitter Bird” in a scene from “Me the People: Fire & Fury” (Photo credit: Stephen Schwartz)

Sigmund Freud (a delightfully agitated Ashley Leon) uses Patsy Kline’s hit “Crazy” to diagnose the president: “Malignant narcissism syndrome” and “Cuckoo, demented, imbalanced and psycho.”

Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida residence is excoriated with sharp, reworked lyrics to “Hotel California.”  “The Sounds of Silence” takes on the high brick wall Trump and his cronies have built to avoid replying to criticism from the press and Maxine Waters (Aiesha Dukes wonderfully sardonic in a blonde wig) sings “Hit the Road, Jack,” thumbing her nose at her cowardly accusers.

The bulk of the 90-minute show is taken up with two skits.  The first takes Ivanka (a scarily perfect Mia Weinberger) and Jared (Joe Marx, smartly catching his smarmy persona) on a whirlwind world tour where their wheeling and dealing obscenely inflates their bank accounts.

The other is a day-by-day account of Trump’s presidency, backed up by deft use of almost instantaneous set and costume changes.  Though overlong, its heartbreaking revelations of one abuse of power after another stuns by their sheer volume.

After Lady Liberty (Ms. Robinson) assures us “I Will Survive,” the show ends with a sing-along of “This Land Is My Land,” sung surprisingly straight.

Mia Weinberger and Joe Marx as “Ivanka and Jared” in a scene from “Me the People: Fire & Fury Edition” (Photo credit: Stephen Schwartz)

The quintet of actor/singers and pianist Higgins do tireless yeoman work in this non-stop tornado of complicated song lyrics and supersonic costume changes, never flagging in their zeal. Surely co-director David Rigano had a hand in keeping the show running so beautifully and getting the most out of the cast.

The comical, purposely half-baked wigs were designed by Katherine Pecevich and the seemingly makeshift, but just right costumes by Stephen Smith.

Me the People: Fire & Fury Edition is clearly not for everyone, but is totally at home in New York City.  The production is also making itself available to pump up the anti-Trump sentiment.

Meanwhile, if nothing else, the show provides a terrific way to vent for both the cast and the audience.

Me the People:  Fire & Fury Edition (Tuesdays through November 6, 2018)

Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 212-695-6909 or visit http://www.MethePeopleMusical.com

Running time: 90 minutes without an intermission

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (279 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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