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Obama Musical To Kick Off In Frankfurt

From Germany’s Der Spiegel:

Barack Obama Musical to Kick off in Frankfurt


By Jess Smee [sic]

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.

Maybe they should have called it ‘Low-Rent.’ (‘Rent’ was the rock and roll adaptation of La Boheme, featuring poor AIDS riddled homosexuals and drug addicts on New York’s East Village.)

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

A number of top politicians are given a show-biz makeover and feature in the show. Among them is John McCain, who is played by the German singer David Hanselmann, and there’s also an appearance by Hillary Clinton, who looks a couple of decades younger.

That is putting it mildly. Hillary is portrayed by an attractive, thin, early-thirties blond.

Sarah Palin also has her own solo, surrounded by a troop of scantily clad dancers.


Much of the script is taken from political speeches and statements, writer and composer Hutchins said.

Does David Axelrod get a credit? Any royalties?

The songs and texts are mostly in English, often with a German translation.

The actors are frequently more youthful than their political personalities and Patrick Strese from Move Gmbh, the German company behind the production, stressed it had been a hard task to cast the key roles.

"We had some trouble finding Obama but then we found Jimmie Wilson and that worked well," he said, refering to the actor who had his first major lead role in "Sisterella," a musical produced by Michael Jackson. "We took into account the appearance of the performers to get that likeness, but their musical ability was essential too."

This is not the only performance to fuse rock, pop and rap to tell Obama’s story. Last March a small theatre in London staged "Obama On My Mind," a musical performance, written by Teddy Hayes.

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."

Of course there is no idealization.

But will Nancy Pelosi complain about the German connection?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, January 11th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Obama Musical To Kick Off In Frankfurt”

  1. artboyusa says:

    “Wooing Michelle with a love song”, eh? Maybe it goes like this…

    Michelle, you are so chippy

    You made my heart go flippy

    Flippy flop

    When you walked into my liiiiiiife!

    Michelle, your hair is sculpted like stone and your arms are so buff

    It just seems like such tough

    Luck that I must restrain my impulses – oh those crazy impulses!

    When we stand side by side before the woooooorld!

    Michelle, where would I be without you?

    How could anyone ever doubt you

    Are the foxiest fox in my Presidential forest of loooove?

    Michelle, say you’ll be my First Lady

    Say you’ll bear my photogenic baby!

    Say you’ll ride with me on a rocket of hope to the stars!


    • jobeth says:

      Is there a tune we can use?

      Great lyrics…as usual!

    • artboyusa says:

      Sing it low, slow and off key, jobeth… and then of course Michelle responds with her own tender love ballad, “Barry”…

      Oh Barry, when your chin’s pointing skywards

      And your hand’s roaming thigh-wards

      I have to succumb

      To your positive message of love!

      Oh Barry, you sure dress the part

      You pushed a re-start button in my heart

      You’re progressive and aggressive and clean and well spoken and clearly no token

      Which means that you’re my kind of guy!

      Oh Barry, the Chicago winds call your name

      The Pacific waves do the same

      We’ll smother the world

      With a pillow of love!

      Oh Barry, we’d be crazy not to love you

      Or place even Heaven above you

      You’ve made our lives magic with your message of hope!

      And if someone says different – no, don’t let anyone be different!

      We’ll sure fix their wagon when we get to Term Two


  2. wirenut says:

    Skeeter and Otis’ sneak revue of Obama Musical.
    Otis: Well Skeeter, whacha think about the big show?
    Skeeter: Bleechh! Spew! Cough,cough!
    Otis: Damn Skeeter! You just zuked all over my new work boots. Whacha go an do that for?
    Skeeter: Gasp! Thats the revue fool!
    Otis: bout sums it up for me to folks, last time I herd that much gas wuz whin we turned the cattle out to fresh pasture.
    Skeeter: That’s flatulence fool, flatulence.
    Otis: I know, they couldn’t sing neither. An don’t go all musical on ME!
    Skeeter: This show was as much fun as the time you put the whoopie cushions in the hen house.
    Otis: Not my fault they couldn’t set’m off.
    Skeeter: Zackly, this show is a lot of squawk an nutt’in to show for it.
    Skeeter and Otis: Till next time…..BYE!

  3. jobeth says:

    Hurry!….Where’s my barf bag!

    “It was a beautiful, very social socialist time.” ”

    “…crooning into his microphone,” Shouldn’t that be, “reading from his teleprompter”

    I really do think I’m going to be sick….

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    It has to start with goose stepping and right hand up at a 45 degree slant.
    Oh……..and lots of brown shirts with jackboots………

  5. wirenut says:

    Thanks LD., was it The Producers? A movie about a musical that just had to fail? Springtime For Hitler And Germany comes to mind. Haw! Insert Obama anywhere.

  6. VMAN says:

    Let’s bring it to “The great white way” Oh sorry I guess I we can’t call it that anymore. Anyway this will beat the heck out of “Spring Time For Hitler”

  7. wirenut says:

    VMAN, I just used one trees worth of paper towels on the monitor. You are a Bad, bad man. I will however, recycle the beer. Damn!

  8. Reality Bytes says:


  9. wirenut says:

    Al Jolson just called, he wants his act back. Mammy!

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