Last night Chicago’s famed Second City comedy company premiered their newest production, Rush Limbaugh! The Musical! The play follows Rush through his rise to prominence as aided and abetted by comrades like Anne Coulter and opponents like Rep. Barney Frank. Second City says,
The score for the show will feature a pastiche of Broadway musicals such as Spring Awakening, Wicked, and Rent. You can call it “Dispirit of the Radio.”
I have to admit that I am both intrigued by the concept, and a little disappointed. Limbaugh is such an over-the-top personality on-air that he verges on self-parody. Not only does he seem sometimes to know this, but he even seems to revel in it. So aiming a parody musical at him is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.
Reading today’s reviews of opening night, it looks like the critics agree. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones writes,
this uncertain show can’t compete with the outsize personality of the object of its satire….
In last year’s “Rod Blagojevich Superstar!,” the disgraced former governor of Illinois went down like a nine pin… . But Limbaugh is a tougher customer than the truly weird Blago, not least because (like a lot of successfully outrageous radio personalities) you never quite know with Limbaugh where the revelations end and the act begins.
More to the point, Hedy Weiss at the Chicago Sun-Times simply concludes,
Sadly, the whole exercise… turns out to be largely predictable, unfunny and surprisingly dated.
Even so, I’m not entirely dissuaded from checking out the show. In this day and age, when’s the next time I’ll have the opportunity to see a musical (even a parody) about a radio star?