After London's smallish Obama on My Mind and Kenya's amateurish Obama: The Musical, Germany has finally created a true Barack Obama musical extravaganza with HOPE: Einer Neuen Generation. Palin has skanky back-up dancers and Reverend Wright sings angry gospel.
There are few international phenomena more fascinating to the American eye than foreign cultures' interpretations of us. Obama tends to be the McDonald's franchise of American presidents, positively interpreted to fit local tastes and aspirations. Vegetarian Big Mac : India :: Obama-themed English lessons : Japan.
And now, Germany does Obama, with jazz fingers. Look out for McCain's torch singer moment at 0:30.
HOPE focuses on the electoral and general elections, in blended English and German, with an international cast and American composer. Their reading of Sarah Palin is at times spot on, like this number where she gyrates amid a stage of fishnet-wearing go-go girls (sadly, there is no video of this):
...and at other times, nonsensical: The actress who plays Palin alternates between brunette and blonde wigs so that she can play Hillary, too.
There's also a pudgy Germany immigrant, (whom I at first misidentified as Janet Napolitano) part of a plucky hoi-polloi of American everymans who also figure into the plot. According to the musical's official site:
From the Puerto Rican Ricardo who has had enough of politics, has lost his job and his home, finding accommodation with the African-American Johnson family, to the ultra conservative widow Mrs. Shultz of German origin and the committed African-American political activist Elaine Johnson—all of them are suddenly caught by a wave of hope for change.
So, if we are to understand Germany's interpretation of post-Obama America from this, we get multi-culti Sesame Street + skanky Republican sideshows + sexy McPresident with a sterling tenor. This is about the way I think of America, too, so looks like Germany is not so far away, after all. May I suggest HOPE's producers focus on a Sarah Palin bio-musical next, a ribald operetta featuring a sultry Levi Johnson boudoir number and narration from a freshly field-dressed moose. [HOPE] [Spiegel]