Ryan Raftery has created his own brand musicals trending up cultural touchstones like Anna Wintour, Calvin Klein and Martha Stewart. His next target:
Rafferty told The Hollywood Reporter, how he has adapted Trump’s story for the stage,
“It’s a Manchurian Candidate story where her father is doing business in the ’80s with the Russians and something goes wrong, and they basically kidnap Ivanka and turn her into a sleeper agent. She doesn’t realize this her entire life.
Kind of like in Jordan Peele’s Us, there’s a moment in the show where Ivanka’s other personality, which has been dormant as far as she knows, finally reveals itself to her. This is after her father’s been elected and the personality basically says to her, ‘I’m revealing myself right now because I’m letting you know I have one goal and one goal only and that’s to get our father reelected.’
The thing that’s fascinating now is that politics has always been a form of entertainment, but now it is entertainment, not just a subset of it, because of what we have going on in the White House right now and the way that [Donald Trump] acts like a petulant child, the way that he uses social media. It’s literally show business, and it’s really scary.”
My number one goal is to make the audience laugh. If they’re thinking, too, that’s a great thing. Ivanka is a girly girl, so I’ve never really had to prepare physically for a role like this before. Like costume-wise, learning how to walk in heels. The makeup has to be perfect, the hair has to be perfect, but I work with a really incredible team of people who have worked with me on these other shows before, and I’m already working on the voice.”
Raftery further explains his process and today’s comedy climate,
“This is a really bad time for comedians because people don’t have a sense of humor. People are lurking in the shadows desperate to be offended. It’s a really dangerous thing about our society right now, because we should be able to laugh at things without people taking them literally. That’s the reason why a lot of comedians don’t play colleges anymore, because people in college especially are the ones who are the most sensitive about things and the biggest ones to be offended. And sometimes when you look at something that’s so obviously a joke, sometimes people just want the attention of being offended.”
The date is set. Feb. 23 at New York’s Public Theater, with a scheduled run through March, 2020. Rafferty will reprise his Anna Wintour musical on Sept. 4-5 at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
(Photo, Avalon, screen grab, Twitter; via THR)