BWW Review: RANDY RAINBOW LIVE! IN BOSTON
Randy Rainbow Live!
Hosted by JM Productions at Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, on August 3, 2017; Leavitt Theatre, 295 Main Street (Route One), Ogunquit, ME, on August 4 @ 8 pm, August 5th @ 7 & 9 pm; Ticket Info: www.brownpapertickets.com
Randy Rainbow kicked off his first New England tour in Boston last night with two shows at the Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts. On his maiden trip to the Hub, Rainbow was greeted with a rousing ovation by a decidedly liberal audience primed to yuck it up at the expense of the 45th POTUS. The self-described internet sensation, famous for his viral satiric videos, lightly sang and quipped his way through a breezy hour-long first set, and graciously paused for a meet-and-greet with select guests between shows.
For the rabid Rainbow followers, there was not a whole lot of new material in the program of songs and videos, but every one was a hit. Like all modern-day political comedians, Rainbow is challenged by the revolving door speed of the current news cycle (just when they thought they'd hit the mother lode with Anthony Scaramucci, he was unceremoniously fired) and finds himself having to rewrite and edit a recently completed video. He opened with a one-on-one faux interview with "The Mooch" in which Rainbow gives him the bad news about losing his job before serenading him with "The Sycophant Italiano" (musical parody of "Cinema Italiano" from Nine).
While a long-time cabaret and theater performer, Rainbow has been plying his comedic trade online since his "Randy Rainbow is Dating Mel Gibson" video went viral in July, 2010. BroadwayWorld readers will remember his "Randy Rainbow: Chewing the Scenery" gig before the 2016 election campaign became fodder for his talents. Although he expresses concern that the country's divisiveness is very scary, he admits that it is great for his career and claims that he is "the hardest working person in this administration."
You don't have to be a musical theater expert to enjoy Rainbow's spoofs, but being familiar with the original show tunes that he parodies in his videos deepens one's appreciation. A prime example is one of his latest in which he dresses in a colonial uniform to sing about all of the players present in the meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., in "The Room Where it Happened" (Hamilton), doubling down on an earlier video about all those Russians in "The Russian Connection" (with no apologies to the Muppets for borrowing "The Rainbow Connection").
DT is the main target, but Rainbow has fun with some of the ancillary White House characters, including Kellyanne Conway ("Fact-Checker, Fact-Checker" to the tune of "Matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof), Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's attorneys, and Melania Trump, whose initials, Rainbow asserts, describe her accurately. He even includes a brief interview piece with Hillary and running mate Tim Kaine that is not exactly flattering, albeit in good humor. It is that latter characteristic that lets him get away with so much of what he says because, amazingly, Rainbow never comes across as mean-spirited. Early in the show he asked if there were any Trump fans in the audience (there were not), just to acknowledge that it's all in fun, but, as one patron shouted out, "This is Boston!"
Rainbow is a consummate showman and, as his penultimate selection, performed a terrific medley of show tunes rewritten in tribute to the legendary word that #45 has added to the American political lexicon: covfefe! It would be worth your while to seek this one out on youtube.com to enjoy snippets of "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "Memory," "Maria," and "Oklahoma," among others. The grand finale harkened back to the first Presidential Debate (remember all that sniffing?) and another infamous malapropism: braggadocious. If you're a fan of Mary Poppins, you can easily sing along with these lyrics: "Stupid callous fragile racist extra braggadocious..." There's not much else to say after that, but rest assured that there will be more to come from the colorful keyboard of Randy Rainbow.
Photo credit: Randy Rainbow