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Me the People: The Trump America Musical

Donald Trump and his circle are satirized in this breezy, topical and patchy musical revue. The youthful and energetic cast and the wigs are outstanding.

Richard Spitaletta, Mitchel Kawash, Aiesha Alia Dukes and Mia Weinberger as The Founding Fathers in the opening number from “Me the People” (Photo credit: Stephen Schwartz)

Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly, Critic

Breezy but patchy, Me The People, conceived by Jim Russek, Nancy Holman and Jay Falzone, is a musical revue that satirizes the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  Donald Trump is the prime target of the barbs but doesn’t actually appear in the show.  Trump’s circle are impersonated as is Sigmund Freud and Hillary Clinton.  The youthful and energetic cast and the wigs are outstanding.

Aiesha Alia Dukes, Mitchel Kawash, Mia Weinberger, and Richard Spitaletta are the personable ensemble that rapidly portray the gallery of in-the-news characters.

The animated and charismatic Mr. Spitaletta is the standout of the cast, vibrantly appearing in numerous roles.  Highlights of his portrayals are a commanding Russian agent spoofing Danny Kaye’s tongue-twisting patter number “Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians)” from Kurt Weil’s Lady in The Dark, and a rollicking caricature of Richard Nixon. Mr. Spitaletta is an ever-present delight.

Aiesha Alia Dukes and Mia Weinberger in “The Welcome to Mar-a-Lago” number from “Me the People” (Photo credit: Stephen Schwartz)

Holson’s book and lyrics are solid, and might amuse some audience members while leaving others in silence with its old fashioned sensibility.  Credit must be given for swiftly updating the material.  At the performance reviewed, there were references to Trump’s tweet attacking television news’ Mika Brzezinski that occurred the previous day.

The size of the Inaugural crowd, The Affordable Care Act, the Russians, North Korea, The Supreme Court and Ivanka and Jared Kushner are all tamely lampooned.

The score is comprised of pop tune melodies.  “Hotel Mar-a-Lago” is performed to The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” “The Girl from Ipanema,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Rockin’ Robin” all get a lot of mileage.

Mia Weinberger and Richard Spitaletta as Ivanka and Jared Kushner in a scene from “Me the People” (Photo credit: Stephen Schwartz)

For the finale, Hillary Clinton appears for the brash number “Fuck You” sung to the tune of CeeLo Green’s “Forget You.” It gets reprised.

Wig designer Kathy Pecevich’s creations are the show’s other chief asset.  Ms. Pecevich’s inspired work includes a black plastic Eddie Munster helmet for Paul Ryan.  The visualizations of Betsy DeVos, Mike Pence, Melania, Ivanka, Jared Kushner, and Bill and Hillary Clinton are all enhanced by Pecevich’s artistry.

Director  Falzone’s brisk staging mines as much comedy and visual variety as possible, making this virtually unfunny 85 minute presentation bearable.

Mitchel Kawash, Mia Weinberger and Richard Spitaletta in the Hillary Clinton number in “Me the People” (Photo credit: Stephen Schwartz)

Stephen Smith’s costume design is an array of basic black garments that are wittily accessorized.  This is most evident in the Hamilton-style, goofy opening number where Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson cavort in Colonial splendor.

Lighting and sound designer Shannon Epstein’s efforts ably realize the material.

For those upset at how the election turned out, Me the People may be mildly cathartic.  As an entertainment it borders on being passable. Perhaps Trump’s unrepentant outrageousness is beyond a traditional send up.

Me the People: The Trump America Musical (open run)

The Triad, 158 West 72nd Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 212-279-4200 or visit http://www.methepeoplemusical.com

Running time: 85 minutes with no intermission

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (389 Articles)
A native New Yorker, Darryl Reilly graduated from NYU with a BFA in Cinema Studies. For the Broadway League, (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers) he developed, and for five years conducted their Broadway Open House Tours, which took visitors through The Theatre District and into several Broadway theaters. He contributed to Broadway Musicals Show by Show: Sixth Edition (Applause Books). Since 2013, he has reviewed theater, cabaret, and concerts for Theaterscene.net.

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