Musical parodies Clinton scandals with a twist

In "Clinton: The Musical," Hillary Clinton must contend with two husbands: WJ Clinton,the serious politician, and Billy Clinton, the wild party boy. There are two characters, played by two actors, for what the show portrays as the two sides of the former president's personality.

"It's a lot like the odd couple; that's sort of a timeless dynamic," said Karl Kenzler, who plays the upstanding WJ Clinton, during a preview of the show at a rehearsal studio in Manhattan. "You have the guy who's always sort of screwing around and the guy who's always sort of trying to get him to straighten up."

After cracking up audiences in the United Kingdom, "Clinton: The Musical" will make its U.S. debut during the New York Musical Theatre Festival from July 18 to July 26. The irreverent satire revisits the 1990s scandals the Clintons would most likely rather leave in the past.

clintonmusical71714.jpg
Karl Kenzler, left, plays WJ Clinton. Alet Taylor, center, plays Hillary Rodham Clinton. Duke LaFoon, right, plays Billy Clinton.
CBS News

While Kenzler's WJ Clinton warns the crowd about a necessary tax, Billy Clinton, played by Duke LaFoon tells them, "Just relax about that tax. Here's some sex!"

But Paul Hodge, who co-wrote the musical with his brother, Michael Hodge, insisted that it was nothing personal.

"Because we're Australians, we're neither Democrats or Republicans, so we don't come in with any kind of viewpoint or agenda," said Hodge.

"I think we're more interested in making people laugh, sometimes in a very silly and crass way, because we are Australians after all."

The challenge with the topic, of course, is finding fresh material in a long-time late-night favorite.

"There were times when I thought, 'Oh that's a really good joke,' and then I went, 'I should really check on the Internet that no one's ever said that,'" said Hodge. "And I think there was one time where there was something that Letterman had said and I went 'Oh well that's gone.'"

But with the help of its two Bill Clintons, the musical finds new angles on the old scandals. In one song, the two Bills and Hillary, played by Alet Taylor, work on drafting the State of the Union address during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. WJ Clinton searches for innocuous phrases to describe the country's surplus -- and fails. ("The deficit is gone, and we have been set free, and we can stand erect...") Each unintended innuendo is met with a "no!" from Hillary and Billy.

alettaylorhillary.jpg
Alet Taylor, who plays Hillary Rodham Clinton in the musical, said she wants the former secretary of state to run in 2016.
CBS News

Taylor, who studied Hillary Clinton's "power positions" in preparation for the role, said she is a fan of the former first lady.

"I do hope that she runs," Taylor said. "Yes, I would vote for Hillary."

Taylor's portrayal of the potential 2016 candidate, she said, is part of what she describes as a "loving parody."

"It's a pleasure to even just portray her in just this light," Taylor said. "She has many different facets to her life and this is just one of them."

The show is directed by Adam Arian and will play during the festival at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York. Tickets are $25.

  • Alexander Trowbridge On Twitter»

    Alexander is a digital reporter for CBSNews.com. He previously worked as a multimedia reporter for POLITICO, where he covered the 2012 presidential campaign.

Comments