Monday, February 8, 2010

New Review Posted: Rush Limbaugh! The Musical

Centerstage put up my review of Rush Limbaugh! The Musical at Second City. It has flaws, yes, but to an angry lefty like me, it's pure catharsis. I laughed like crazy--though I also occasionally cringed at the overly loud sound. If you aren't a leftist hater of the conservative noise machine, I don't know how you'll react, but in my subjective opinion, it's fantastic.

Here's the text:

Rush Limbaugh (Mark Sutton) is praying: he needs some event to rally everyone behind conservatism, and give them a greater appetite for Limbaugh's brand of hate-mongering. At that moment, someone jumps in to tell him that the twin towers have been hit. Limbaugh looks to heaven, and fervently gives thanks.

As the above joke makes perfectly clear, Ed Furman and T. J. Shanoff's "Rush Limbaugh! The Musical" is not a light, funny parody, like the author's previous, lesser show, "Rod Blagojevich Superstar." This is a vicious satire, with real teeth. It's primal-scream therapy for liberals, or anyone fed up with political discourse in America. Someone who doesn't agree with the show's politics probably won't have a good time, but for those of us continually horrified by Limbaugh and his ilk, it's cathartic.

The story looks back at Limbaugh's life from 2014, narrated by Shasta (Karla Beard), who is apparently the embodiment of Limbaugh's fears about black women. The device doesn't really make sense, but it doesn't matter, as Beard is giving a spectacular performance — she's got comic timing as strong as the rest of the cast, but she's also a truly exceptional singer. Her solos blow the roof off the place. While the rest of the cast's voices range from passable to good, it hardly takes away from the show, as they all jump into the gleefully malicious material with both feet. Sutton makes a frightening Limbaugh — though he's far too healthy-looking for the part — and the other four cast members each have truly brilliant moments in a variety of roles.

The show definitely has flaws — it loses steam during the last half-hour, and the sound mix is often ear-splittingly loud — but they don't detract much from one of the sharpest political satires I've seen. See it before Limbaugh's lawyers shut it down.

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