This isn’t a political article. It is an article about theater or how life imitates art more than art imitating life. Say what you will about current GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, who unless society has a magical deux ex machina in reserve, will become the Republican Party nominee, he has brought theater to politics, with an Edward Albee on Red Bull sense of the absurd. Marc Antony has invaded the Senate and is trying to shake up the complacent establishment, ie Washington. It is classic hero mythos, one man against the forces of evil. If we were to pull from the current Broadway fare, it would be a little like Hamilton, only our protagonist has one idea and might use an usher as a shield when Aaron Burr tries to cap him. Welcome to The Trump Follies.
But the real-life Donald Trump is a brilliant dramatist and, to be the hero, you have to elicit a bit of sympathy. Take Aaron Burr. He shoots Alexander Hamilton and everyone is mad at him. No more singing, no more breakdancing at the Constitutional Convention and everyone is very disappointed because they really wanted to see Ben Franklin “Pop and Lock.” It doesn’t matter that Hamilton was a hot head and very difficult to get along with and was the veteran of many duels. He was the protagonist of Lin-Manuel Miranda production and, as such, he has to win hearts. like Donald Trump.Only, being likable doesn’t make you a hero, which is what gets you elected. Sure, the Trump character has a pathological need to be liked as much as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Like Elle Woods, in Legally Blonde: The Musical, our Donald character wants to be known for his brains as well as his dashing good looks. This exchange, from the musical, you’ve no doubt heard plenty of times at Trump events –
- “(Elle) I’m here cause I’m serious. (Warner) Yeah right you look real serious.”
Thus Donald colors in shades of Willy Lohman, trying to sell a ridiculous idea, building a wall between Mexico and the US, with the best of intent, not to mention believing in it so strongly that you convince yourself it is a good idea.
The theater has always fascinated Trump and throughout the decades he has yearned to do a musical about his life. Barry Weisler, a Broadway producer, told this to the the New York Times online, “We worked on it (a Donald Trump musical), but it didn’t have enough twists-and-turns and tension – it couldn’t rise above what they were doing on television. Eventually it just faded away.”
Only to be brought back. Later in the article, we learn, “There was another round of discussions about a Trump-related Broadway show in the summer of 2007, when Mr. Trump met in his office with a creative team to talk about producing a revue, using songs from the Irving Berlin catalog, with The Trump Follies as the working title.”
When it came down to it, one can only surmise that these productions never came off because the potential audience was not big enough. He has the character and now the platform. Watch out Hamilton. Here comes the Trump Follies.
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