Harper, like you’ve never seen him

Stephen Harper! The Musical

by Julia Belluz

Following Stephen Harper’s performance last October of the Beatles’ classic With a Little Help From My Friends, comedian Steven Shehori and his brother and writing partner, Daniel, wondered what would happen if the Conservative party staged a musical about the Prime Minister to boost his ratings.

So they created Stephen Harper! The Musical. The show, which just wrapped up a two-week run at Second City in Toronto, is the Canadian response to successful musicals in Chicago about the former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and the conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

Instead of “taking cheap shots at the PM,” says Steven, the musical depicts a sympathetic leader, stuck in the middle of a circus of overbearing advisers who scheme to recreate the magic of his famous Beatles performance. The best way, they decide, is to release a Broadway musical about Harper in advance of an election. While there is no mention of his policies, the show credits Harper with staging the Riel Rebellion and defeating former Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis in a race. “We’re poking fun at the absurdity of politics,” says Steven. Harper’s Beatles song “is a microcosm of a bigger issue: the cult of personality has become more intriguing than policies.”

In January, the two-act comedy heads on the road. So far, 15 cities—chosen for economic reasons, not political ones—are confirmed for the cross-country tour. The brothers hope to add a stop in the Tory stronghold of Calgary, and one in Ottawa—where they’ve offered Harper a standing invite. “He can come in disguise if he wants,” says Steven, though they’d love if he joined the performance—giving the audience a night of art imitating the PM imitating art.




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Harper, like you’ve never seen him

  1. Personally, I'm intrigued. I think the PM should go see it.

  2. Are there really people out there who would spend good money on a Harper imitation? Don't they have enough of him already? I guess it takes all kinds.

  3. I love political musicals (I suppose Nixon in China is technically an opera, but I will declare it my favourite anyway), and will have to take a look. Anybody interested in a good political history of Australia from the late 80's till 1996 would be well advised to watch Keating! the musical (most of which is on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9o8BBBuQPk). It is a shame that a lot of contemporary Canadian political comedians don't use song. Double Exposure was a decent (great impressions, but hit or miss material) show on radio*, but their song parodies were epic. Whenever the Phantom of the Opera plays, I can't but remember their sketch with Trudeau and Chretien.

    *The TV version was not very good. On radio Bob Robertson could be five people simultaneously, but not in person.

    • Oh GAWD!
      I'd KILL for a copy of that!

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