Capital Fringe Review: ‘President Harding is a Rock Star’ by Anne Tsang

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Landless Theater Company’s revival of President Harding is a Rock Star, written by Kyle Jarrow and directed by Melissa Baughman attempts to draw parallels between the life and metoric rise of the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding and the ups and downs of fame of the rock stars of the current day. This zany, loud rock musical, is the story of the charismatic, well-intentioned Warren G. Harding (Andrew Lloyd Baughman), the woman who pushed him to become more, his wife Florence Harding (the beautiful Justine Hall), and the unreliable advisors who would lead him to scandal and ruin.

With toe-tapping rock music and heart wrenching rock ballads and epic guitar solos, the cast takes the audience through the humble beginnings of Harding, his rapid rise to President, his popularity, gambling away the White House China, his penchant for younger mistresses, and his horrible choices in the advisors he surrounded himself. The members of the band include Mickey D. Daguiso (band leader and keyboards), David Horch (drums and various other roles), Lauren Ebbin and Melanie Kurstin (backup singers), Jack Sossman (guitars and other roles) and Ray Shaw (bass). There are also cameo appearances by Napoleon (Daguiso) and Alexandar Hamilton (Shaw) and body shots (of the alcoholic kind)

Another highlight of the show was costume designers Elizabeth D. Reeves, Melissa Baughman, and Steve Custer’s choices which included blue sequined jumpsuits, red plastic track suits, glitter capes, glitter lipgloss, and American Flag Underwear and chaps!

big kudos to the cast who rocked their hearts out even in the unbelievable stifling heat of the gypsy tent. This was definitely “The hottest show in town!”

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Anne Tsang
Anne is a self proclaimed theater nut and lover of live music. She once spent 8 hours, non-stop, at a theater festival. watching a series of plays--you have to be a nut to be able to do that! Anne's first love in theater are Broadway musicals and she has an uncanny luck in winning lottery tickets for the shows! Anne also loves all forms of live music and is always amazed and touched by the energy of a great show. Anne also loves to travel and is fascinated by food and often combines the loves in her life--theater, music, food--with travel to new destinations and has been to performance venues around the world. What better way to share her enthusiasm and love for all things theater and music than to write for DCMetroTheaterArts? She can't wait to start sharing her observations with you!