‘Me the People’ brings satire of Trump’s America to the stage
The musical revue is “about creating a safe space to laugh for the people who are really horrified,” writer Nancy Holson said.
The last time Nancy Holson, Jay Falzone and Jim Russek joined forces to bring the presidency of a sitting commander-in-chief to the stage, it was George W. Bush.
“We didn’t realize how good we had it back then,” Holson said.
Fast forward 11 years, and Holson, riding the swell of the opposition surrounding President Donald Trump’s election, needed to resist the way she knew best: through satire and song.
The trio hopes to “tap into the community of people who feel as we do, who are horrified by these events and feel the need to make change, to give them a release and build a sense of community,” as Holson put it, with "Me the People: The Trump America Musical.”
The show kicks off June 22 at The Triad on the Upper West Side and features a book and lyrics by Holson, with Falzone choreographing and directing and Russek producing.
Metro: Which character was the most fun to write?
Nancy Holson: It won’t necessarily be that we’re doing an impression of a person, though Jared and Ivanka, we had a whole lot of fun with them. We’ve personified Mar-a-Lago, the Supreme Court, taken Twitter and turned it into a character. The Founding Fathers rewrite the Constitution according to Trump’s rules. We’ve used a little bit of absurdity here — we don’t have Donald Trump in the show. He’s such a polarizing figure our audience would have trouble watching him.
How long was “Me the People” in the works?
NH: It came about after the election. After the cloud began to clear a day or two later, I realized I needed to do this. The day after the inauguration, I pretty much sat down and sketched out what the show ought to look like, and we made it happen quickly.
How important is it to remember laughter at a time many are horrified?
NH: It’s very important because life is about balance. In the middle of all this horror, I just had my first grandchild. It really is a reminder that life goes on. On the other hand, when something this bleak and dangerous happens, we have to channel everything, and laughter is a tool.
How did your process with Jim and Jay change from 2006’s “Bush Wars?”
NH: The show is darker, it’s really funny, but it’s really dark because our times are dark, so that has changed.
With something new happening seemingly hourly with Trump, will the show adapt to reflect that?
NH: That was certainly something we toyed with, but I felt the more important thing was to address principals. We’re really talking about fundamental, moral concepts, so those would be the tent poles. References will come and go, but there will be topical stuff, and it’ll feel fresh.
What would you say to get a Trump supporter to attend?
NH: “Chicago” is playing down the road. This is not about changing the mind of Trump voters. It’s about creating a safe space to laugh for the people who are really horrified.
“Me The People” begins June 22 at The Triad (158 W. 72nd St). Tickets are $39-$49 with a two-drink minimum. For more info, visit MeThePeopleMusical.com.