Venue Details

District of Columbia Arts Center
2438 18th Street NW Washington, DC 20009
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4.0 / 5 Rated by 16 members
Review from Go, See, Doer
17 events 9 reviews

Nine of us went and 8 of the 9 really enjoyed the musical. It was funny, semi-sad, and mostly a hoot. The actor/singers did a wonderful job. It was a very intimate theater and so every seat was great. Parking was tricky. Come early if you are...continued

reviewed Nov 01 2008 report as inappropriate
Review from Joseph Gilday
15 events 6 reviews

This was a delightfully creative performance piece. I had trouble understanding lyrics with a few of the songs sung by the lead guy. And what I did understand was very clever--so I didn't like missing out on any of it. Though the performances...continued

reviewed Nov 06 2008 report as inappropriate
Review from Benjamin J. Cooper
8 events 6 reviews

Tiny theater, but hilarious show illustrating the human side of one of America's least capable presidents. The history is pretty well-done, the satire engaging, and the music is very entertaining - I wanted a CD.

reviewed Oct 31 2008 report as inappropriate
View All 12 Reviews
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The Landless Theatre Company presents the DC premiere of President Harding is A Rock Star.  The musical is by Obie Award-winning playwright-composer Kyle Jarrow, creator of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant, and mounted by director Melissa Baughman and her musical team that won the “2008 Best Musical Pick of The Fringe” with Diamond Dead.
p. Long before Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, Warren G. Harding was a hard-living, hard-loving rock star. Harding gambled away the White House china in a poker game. He appointed gangsters and con men to cabinet positions. He trysted with his teenage mistress in the Oval Office closet.  When he died of “food poisoning” from bad crab in 1923, rumors of murder swept the country.  President Harding Is A Rock Star tells the whole sordid tale in glam-rock concert style, and Warren G. Harding himself explodes onto the stage like John McCain wearing David Lee Roth’s codpiece

This absurd rock musical was first produced by New York’s Les Freres Corbusier in 2004. Landless’ Washington premiere marks the second production of the play to date, and in the heat of the current election craze, promises to be the most poignant production yet.

“There’s certainly the sense (seen in Obama— but much more so in Palin, now) that politicians without a whole lot of experience can be embraced and propped up by the political machine and come to symbolize much more than what they alone stand for,” playwright-composer Kyle Jarrow said. “Their very newness and un-politician-ness gives them a rockstar status that makes them seem simultaneously more like us, and more like the kind of people we aspire to be.”

Resident Director Melissa Baughman believes that President Harding’s meteoric rise sends a warning to Obama, Palin and the other rockstar candidates. Baughman most recently directed Diamond Dead (winner of the 2008 Best Musical Pick of the Fringe), and has also directed productions of Batboy The Musical, Night of the Living Dead, and Ohashi’s Godzilla.

“Harding would tell Obama and Palin to brace themselves for an explosion of self-doubt, deceitful friends, and giant poisonous crabs,” said Baughman. “On the other hand, McCain’s been around long enough to become one of the giant poisonous crabs, so he doesn’t have to worry about it.”

The production stars Landless Artistic Director Andrew Lloyd Baughman (Landless’ Gutenberg! The Musical! and Diamond Dead) as “Warren G. Harding,” Dave Bobb (Synetic’s Animal Farm_) as “Harry Daugherty,” and introducing  Richelle “Rikki” Howie (_Toby’s Dreamgirls, Millie, and Ragtime) as “First Lady of Rock Florence Harding.”

The supporting cast/band includes:  Brett Abelman, Esther Covington, Katie Molinero, Josh Speerstra, Karissa Swanigan,  and Jen Tonon. Band Direction by Josh Speerstra. Vocal arrangements and direction by Andrew Lloyd Baughman. Costumes by Elizabeth Reeves. Scenic Design by Jared Davis. Lighting Design by Peter Vargo. Prop Design by Melissa Baughman.

“You’ll have to see for yourself the detrimental effect that a combination of giant crabs and glam rock can have on a man,” Melissa Baughman said.

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