Ready or not, here it comes:
Barack Obama and his dramatic ascent to power has inspired a raft of books and articles. Now a German musical is set to pay an all-singing, all-dancing tribute to the world’s most powerful man. Hope! will soon premiere in Frankfurt.
Wearing a knitted cardigan and crooning into his microphone, Barack Obama paces around the stage, wooing Michelle with a love song. In another number, now clad in a suit, Jimmie Wilson who plays Obama, struts up and down, clasping his mike and leading a euphoric gospel chorus of “Yes We Can.”
These two scenes are part of an unusual new musical called “Hope!” which is to premiere in Frankfurt on Jan. 17. The production, the biggest of its kind, is an all-singing and all-dancing take on the US president’s victorious campaign in 2008.
“I had the initial idea right at the start of Obama’s electoral campaign,” American writer and composer Randall Hutchins told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “I found the atmosphere exciting and that was my inspiration. People hoped change would result in a better life. It was a beautiful, very social time.”
As well as charting Obama’s political career, the plot follows a group of residents in an apartment-sharing community. There is a politically disillusioned unemployed Puerto Rican, an ultra conservative widow of German origin and a committed African-American political activist.
During the course of the performance, they all become infected by Obama’s message of change. “People from a variety of backgrounds and political camps are united by their hope for a new start,” a press release about the show explains.
“Infected” sounds about right.
Other noteworthy, prominent political figures from the 2008 campaign season are featured in the musical as well, including a McCain impersonator and
a “scanitily dressed” version of Gov. Sarah Palin scantily dressed dancers surrounding the Gov. Palin character. Nice to know that American Democrats aren’t the only sexist liberals out there.
Around two thirds of the tickets for the Frankfurt performance have been sold already, event organizers say. And the estimated 2,000 spectators will be in for an active evening. More than half of them will be allocated specially designed seats which incorporate a small drum to play along to the songs. Other audience members will be equipped with shakers.
The show will take place in the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt am Main. Tickets are priced at between €42 and €151 ($60-$216). After Frankfurt, it is set to tour Germany and its organizers are currently in talks about a future US tour.
But despite complaints on the Internet that this is yet another a rose-tinted portrayal of the president, event organizers stressed that Obama is not being idealized by this glittery take on his ascent to power. “In no way does ‘Hope!’ show Obama as a saint,” the press statement said. “This grants us a view behind the scenes of his comet-like rise and also tells of his personal ups and downs.”
I “hope” I never have to watch that video clip again.
The Messiah-like worship of our celebrity President continues.