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Bush Bashing has Musical Style

Never has a political mockery been more in need than in these turbulent, and let's face it, horrendously tragic times.  And when the Commander-in-Chief is a "smirking chimp" with a weaker grasp of the English language than a fifth grader, there is no better way to stick it to the man than with a sharp-witted musical.  Strike up the spin!

Fresh off a successful run in New York, Joshua Rosenblum has updated his valentine to the President and set up shop in North Hollywood with the West Coast premiere of Bush is Bad.

In this latest incarnation, the musical now includes timely mentions of the Albert Gonzalez's federal prosecutor debacle (in a wildly catchy number) and of the shameless name calling between Ann Coulter and John Edwards (with a perfectly wicked Sabrina Miller donning a witch-like blonde wig for the role).  

Nothing Republican, which today can most certainly stand for anything ill advised, escapes ridicule in this musical, giving every liberal in the house something to howl at.  Though it would be tough to imagine Bush is Bad playing in any of those red states, more aptly known as fly-over territory.

Obviously playing to his base audience, Rosenblum has packed his latest production with more over-the-top ridicule than ever, culling from all three other versions of the show, including the upcoming Bush is Bad:  Lame Duck.  

Kicking off the festively ferocious evening is a barb right into the heart of all those who kicked in a vote for George W. Bush, "How Can 59 Million People Be So Dumb?"  And with various other musical numbers with titles ranging from "Torture Has Been Very Good To Me," "The Gay Agenda" and "Wake Me When It's 2009," there is a little bit of everything wrong with today's government slipped into the mix.  With nearly two more years to go, one can eagerly anticipate what more Rosenblum will have to sing about next.

Even Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber joins in on the fun.  Well, not specifically, though a medley of tunes from his Broadway hit Jesus Christ Superstar get spun around in the oh so wonderful "Scooter Libby, Superstar."  

A handful of talented jokesters fill out the ensemble cast, including Roger Ainslie, Stefanie Black, Melanie Ewbank, Michael Lavine, Gerry Mullins, Mai Thompson-Heath, Michael Craig Shapiro and Jonathan Zenz.

Admittedly the evening is slightly topsy-turvy, as in "Saturday Night Live" fashion, which the show ultimately feels like, certain jokes are hit and miss.  Yet there are plenty more zingers than not in Bush is Bad, and if it is a good political thrashing you are in for, this is the perfect musical for the job.

Lavine provides the musical direction, with Jay Willick and James Mellon directing and staging Bush is Bad.  The musical includes Reno Blake's set design, lighting by Luke Moyer, sound by Jonathan Zenz and costumes by David Matwijkow.

Bush is Bad runs through May 20 at the NoHo Arts Center, located at 11136 Magnolia Boulevard in North Hollywood.  Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling 818-508-7101 or online at

Photos by Robert Arbogast.

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