The first States-side review of the Obama-themed musical “experience” HOPE: Obama Musical Story, which opened at Frankfurt’s Jahrhunderthalle on Friday, came from Bloomberg’s Catherine Hickley today, and it’s delightfully dismissive. To be fair, from its sappy Barack-Michelle serenades, to the sultry Sarah Palin number “Soccer Mom Pit Bull” (even though she was a hockey mom, thankyouverymuch) and Hilary Clinton’s mid-debate song “Ready on Day One”, it sounds quite awful—and the video after the jump pretty much confirms those apprehensions. My favorite passage from Hickley’s review comes when she describes the super-awkward way that Michigan-born playwright Randall Hutchins presents American racial stereotypes to his German audience:
Nothing is taken for granted. When a character called Money Mack shows up on the street in a white suit, hat and shades with his shirt unbuttoned to the navel, surrounded by thugs to challenge the young Obama, he has to sing “I’m a hustla, hustla, hustla, hustla, smooth criminal.” In case anyone still didn’t get the point, the program helpfully explains that a hustler is a gang leader who makes a living through drug dealing, theft and racketeering.
Sounds utterly hopeless.
Obviously, there will have to be an Obama musical at some point, but I’m confident that we can do better than this. (Playgoer)