×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bush Is Bad

Supporters of President Bush may not be amused, but pretty much everybody else with a sense of humor should find Joshua Rosenblum's musical revue "Bush Is Bad" highly entertaining.

With:
Ensemble: Roger Ainslie, Stefanie Black, Melanie Ewbank, Michael Lavine, Sabrina Miller, Gerry Mullins, Mai Thompson-Heath, Michael Craig Shapiro, Jonathan Zenz.

Supporters of President Bush may not be amused, but pretty much everybody else with a sense of humor should find Joshua Rosenblum’s musical revue “Bush Is Bad” highly entertaining. Although the show is about as subtle as its title, and some numbers are hit-and-miss, the political revue is pointed and hilarious overall. The West Coast premiere production at the NoHo Arts Center boasts an energetic cast and polished direction from Jay Willick and James J. Mellon, topped by Roger Ainslie’s jocular and eerily accurate impression of our Decider-in-Chief.

The show begins with two amusing and straightforward numbers, “How Can 59 Million People Be So Dumb” and “Anyone Can Grow Up to Be President,” each displaying flashy choreography and efficient staging.

Although “Crazy Ann Coulter,” “Mr. Whittington Regrets” and “Get Real” are better in concept than execution, “Torture Has Been Very Good to Me” is a cheerful ditty sung by Alberto Gonzales (Michael Craig Shapiro) with a fabulous reprise that brings his story up to date.

“Scooter Libby, Superstar,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Bush” and “Sure, You Betcha, George” are clever pieces in the styles of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill, respectively. “Culture of Life” effectively skewers its topic group, and “In His Own Words” memorably allows Bush to provide the lyrics.

Ainslie looks nothing like Bush, but he has Bush’s squint, body language and, especially, his voice down cold. His perfs of “Down in Crawford” (which equates clearing brush with the “war on terror”), “Uniter, Not a Divider” (he’s united 72% of the public against him) and “Heck of a Job” are assured bits of comic excellence, and the quiet dramatic moment in which Bush plays with an Optimus Prime action figure is a piece of whacked genius.

Jonathan Zenz is wonderful in multiple scenes, from the serious German recitation of “Das Bush Ist Schlecht” to a peevish Donald Rumsfeld. Sabrina Miller brings a sassy charm to the blithely rude “Won’t You Please,” but her Ann Coulter seems unfocused.

Shapiro has a ball with “The Gay Agenda,” dancing down the theater aisle as he ticks off the nefarious errands of the day, and his Alberto Gonzales is blunt but humorous. Stefanie Black has a lovely voice and is good in many numbers: Her “Surabaya Johnny” parody is terrific.

Melanie Ewbank, Gerry Mullins and Mai Thompson-Heath complete the fine cast. Michael Lavine’s piano playing and musical direction is lively and inspired.

Rosenblum’s music is tuneful, his lyrics are mostly witty, and while his show is clearly partisan, it’s done in a good-humored way. Willick and Mellon’s direction keeps the pace sprightly and the staging fluid, although they use the second floor of Reno Blake’s simple but evocative bi-level set too infrequently.

David Matwijkow’s costumes are attractive, and his bandaged hunter get-up for Whittington is droll.

Bush Is Bad

NoHo Arts Center, North Hollywood; 99 seats; $35 top

Production: An Open at the Top in association with the NoHo Arts Center presentation of a musical in one act with music and lyrics by Joshua Rosenblum. Directed by Jay Willick and James J. Mellon.

Crew: Sets, Reno Blake; costumes, David Matwijkow; lighting, Luke Moyer; sound, Jonathan Zenz; musical direction, Michael Lavine; production stage manager, Curtis C. Opened, reviewed April 6, 2007. Runs through May 20. Running time: 1 HOUR, 30 MIN.

Cast: Ensemble: Roger Ainslie, Stefanie Black, Melanie Ewbank, Michael Lavine, Sabrina Miller, Gerry Mullins, Mai Thompson-Heath, Michael Craig Shapiro, Jonathan Zenz.

More Scene

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Tina KnowlesSoul of Nation: Art in

    Jay-Z, Tina Knowles Celebrate New 'Soul of a Nation' Exhibit at Broad Museum

    “This show is so important. I mean, it’s our history — and it’s a very important part of our journey,” Tina Knowles Lawson said about Friday night’s opening of the exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963 – 1983” at the Broad Museum in DTLA. “I’m just so impressed [...]

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

  • Danielle Brooks'Ain't Too Proud - The

    How 'Orange Is the New Black' Star Danielle Brooks Became a Broadway Producer

    Danielle Brooks earned a Tony nomination when she made her Broadway debut as Sofia in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” but now the “Orange Is the New Black” star is working behind the scenes as a producer on the new jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “I [...]

  • Nick Offerman Amy Poehler

    'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talks Possibility of a Revival at 10th Anniversary Reunion

    For one night, Hollywood felt a little like Pawnee. The cast of NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” reunited at PaleyFest on Thursday in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. The whole Pawnee gang showed up: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Jim [...]

  • Andy CohenThe Shops and Restaurants at

    Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

    Mazel, Andy Cohen! Bravo’s late-night talk show host is set to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City. Sarah Jessica Parker will present him with the award, which is named in honor of GLAAD founder Vito Russo. The annual award goes to openly [...]

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content