Reviewed by Nyla Arslanian
It's not often that the entertainment term "BOFFO" comes to mind, but it did as the most descriptive word for "44: The un
Sanctioned Obama Musical (as told through the hazy recollection of Joe Biden)." An absolutely sterling cast delivered a very entertaining, well crafted, exciting, song-filled musical in the cabaret-style theatre at The Bourbon Room on Hollywood Boulevard.
While every actor's performance is spot on, a few stood out for their hilarity. This reviewer would return just to see Kelly Dorney as Hilary Clinton, Larry Cedar as
Mitch O'Connell, Jane Papageorge as
Sarah Palin, or Chad Doreck as
Joe Biden. As centers of attention Barack and Michelle Obama superbly played by T. J. Wilkins and Shanice (both Grammy award nominees) provide solid, vocally wonderful performances, it's the cast of characters that swirl around them in song, dance and antics that make this fast-paced two-hour show (with one 10-minute intermission) fly. Each character has their moment and, although I had my favorites, every performance was a standout.
Totally the creation of Eli Bauman, son of Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, who lent his genes and a few artistic suggestions for this show, Bauman comes late to musical theatre following a career that began touring as a lad with his father and "Sha Na Na" to political campaigning and eventually to success with television writing. This play brings to mind the talent of another young playwright who brought us the unforgettable "Hamilton." No less historically significant, Eli Bauman's creation is such a tour de force.
While he's credited with book, music, lyrics and direction, Bauman credits Anthony "Brew" Brewster, Musical Director, and his band House of Vibe as "The Andrew Jackson Five" for the stellar musical ensemble. James Alsop's choreography enhanced without detracting. In his director's notes, Bauman's acknowledgement of Michael Donovan for casting was well-deserved. What a show!
An equity production "44: The Obama Musical" is a raucous, hilarious, show well worth the price of the ticket plus the $25 cover charge. Value counts and this show is worth every penny and is even more pleasurable as you enjoy your favorite beverage, appetizer or menu selection from hamburgers to crispy Brussel sprouts (recommended). Service was excellent and friendly.
Our recommendation: No matter your political persuasion, run, do not walk to get your tickets before the show departs May 20th. We guarantee you won't be disappointed.
"44: The Obama Musical" plays Wednesday thru Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 5:00 to outer bar, theatre/cabaret opens at 6:00. The Bourbon Room is located upstairs at 6356 Hollywood Blvd.