Making Audiences Guffaw Again in ‘FIVE’ at Off-Broadway’s Theater 555

With the 2024 presidential campaigns, primary elections, and multiple court cases against America’s 45th President in full swing in our country, there couldn’t be a better time for the world premiere of FIVE: The Parody Musical – an updated take-off on the Tony-winning musical SIX, opening on Presidents Day and playing a limited Off-Broadway engagement at Theater 555. Here, instead of the six queens of Henry VIII competing over which of them had it the worst, it’s five of the key women in the life and trials of The Donald telling their stories and vying for our votes in a laugh-out-loud satirical revue by Shimmy Braun and Moshiel Newman Daphna (book and lyrics) and Billy Recce (music and lyrics) that gives new meaning to MAGA, by Making Audiences Guffaw Again.

The cast. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Set on a debate stage in Ronkonkoma, NY (for legit reasons you’ll find out), Trump’s two ex-wives and current spouse, call girl and daddy’s girl each plead their case in song and story while slinging insults at one another and at the former Commander-in-Chief (with running jokes mocking his fake hair and skin color and the small size of a certain part of his anatomy). Under the hilarious rapid-fire direction of Jen Wineman, who also provided the animated and often risqué choreography (with spread eagle postures and simulated sex acts), the terrific cast – starring Anyae Anasia as Ivana, Gabriella Joy Rodriguez as Marla, Jaime Lyn Beatty as Melania, Gabi Garcia as Stormy, and Hannah Bonnett as Ivanka – brings their powerhouse voices and vocal harmonies (despite the vicious disharmony among the characters) to twelve musical numbers, and their considerable comedic skills to the over-the-top irreverent caricatures, actively moving around the stage, dancing, and striking poses, mimicking the women’s familiar accents and speech patterns (Ivana insists that she had it the “VORST” and the others join in to spell it out “YMCA” style; Ivanka, who defines herself as a “JAP” mispronounces Chanuka), and miming what they’ve done with him (Stormy, using a hand mic and gagging reflex) and what they’d like to do to him (led by Melania, since she has too much to lose were she to divorce him, because of the pre-nup she signed).

The cast. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Along with the inspiration of Six, the clever lampoon also includes witty references to other Broadway hits and uproarious reworkings of their well-known show tunes to fit the current theme (e.g., Wicked’s “Popular” is reimagined for Marla as berating her competitors for being “Un-popular;” “Hit Me Baby One More Time” from the Britney Spears musical Once Upon a One More Time is now sung by nepo-baby Ivanka, her father’s favorite, as “Kiss Me Daddy One More Time” – but it’s “not incest, not incest, not, not, not,” as she tries to convince herself with increasing uncertainty; and the company’s “Don Dump Tango” takes its cue from Chicago’s deadly “Cell Block Tango”), all backed by their band “the Insurrectionettes” (conductor Lena Gabrielle on keyboards, Jana Graham and Nicole Marcus on drums, and Sarah Favinger on bass, with orchestrations and arrangements by Terence “T” Odonkor and music supervision and arrangements by Gabrielle).

Adding to the non-stop laughs with another perspective on who really had it the worst is special guest, drag artist, and acclaimed opera singer Jasmine Rice LaBeija as Hillary Clinton, who enters through the house in a signature white pantsuit, takes to the microphone stand, addresses the eponymous “five” and the audience, and belts out an impassioned “Don’t You Miss Me Now” (derived from the Dreamgirls torch song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”). We also hear LaBeija at the beginning of the show as the announcer, in a sidesplitting voiceover curtain speech, and before she makes her exit as Hillary, reminding everyone to vote – a major message of the production, from which a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Drag Out The Vote, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works with drag performers to increase participation in our democracy, by using the art and activism of drag to educate, register, and turn out voters (a representative has information and handouts at a desk in the theater’s lobby, encouraging everyone to “sashay to the polls”).

The cast. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

The riotous political spoof is visually enhanced by David Goldstein’s red, white, and blue set, with an upstage curtain of silver streamers, five red folding chairs, hanging panels of white stars on a red background, and a central blue sign above with a variation on the MAGA slogan; identifying hair and wigs by Ian Joseph; SIX-inspired post-modern costumes by Florence D’Lee and props by Brendan McCann that are encrusted in glitter, rhinestones, and gold (among the most amusing are Ivana’s hobo bag on a stick with the Coco Chanel monogram in sparkling gems; Melania’s golden potato that she carries with her in the pocket of her infamous “I Really Don’t Care” coat; and an American flag that’s also set in gemstones); and lighting by Jamie Roderick and Marie Yokoyama that mostly follows the red, white, and blue color scheme, with the exception of pink for Ivanka. Sound by Bailey Trierweiler, Kevin Heard, and UptownWorks is loud and clear, with cracks of thunder that signal Stormy’s lead vocal on “Storm’s Comin’ In” (as are the charges against 45 and the hush money subsequently paid to her).

If the current state of US politics and the presidency have you down, FIVE helps to laugh about them for one wildly entertaining evening and to recognize who really has it the worst.

Running Time: Approximately 80 minutes, without intermission.

FIVE plays through Sunday, April 21, 2024, at Theater 555, 555 West 42nd Street, NYC. For tickets (priced at $49-89, plus fees), go online.


  1. Due to popular demand, producers of FIVE: The Parody Musical, initially announced as playing a limited four-week engagement, have put a new block of tickets on sale for an additional six weeks through April 21.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here