FIVE, the Parody Musical

★ ★ ★

Picture this: a world leader, infamously reviled and seemingly unchecked, leaving a trail of worse-for-the-wear wives behind him. But his wives decide to change the narrative and start telling their own stories for once. This is the premise of SIX, one of the hottest shows on Broadway right now. It is also the premise of FIVE: the Parody Musical, in which Ivana, Marla, Melania, Stormy Daniels, and Ivanka realize: “Hey, if SIX can do it, why can’t we?”

Part of the joke inherent in this parody show is that this is obviously not SIX. The women themselves admit that their set is subpar, even with the help of their “homosexuals.” But if the much-maligned wives of Henry VIII can earn their redemption, through song, these women think that they deserve to do so as well. Of course, they can’t stop bickering amongst themselves, but the one thing they all agree on is that they’ve gotten a bad rap because of their husband (or client, or father). Beginning with a Trump-ified rendition of SIX’s “Ex-Wives,” the show goes on to parody great Broadway songs with varying success. 

It’s definitely a fun love letter to the anthology of great Broadway musical numbers. Anyone who can quote-sing Chicago lyrics will get excited when they see the silhouetted women in chairs lined up on the stage, and Jasmine LaBeija’s denouement performance that races through musical references almost faster than you can place them is quite the exciting homage. Unfortunately, it all sort of falls flat with nothing but repetitive and shallow jokes to fill out the parody lyrics. This 90-minute show doesn’t have anything more substantial to say than that 2016 SNL sketch, “Melanianade.”

That being said, even when you’re tired after the fifteenth Cheeto joke in as many minutes, the actors are having the time of their lives. They absolutely won me over, and they might be reason enough to see this show. Anyae Anasia gives a Broadway-worthy performance with Ivana’s solo song (titled, of course, “You Veel Alvays Love Me”), and Gabriella Joy Rodriguez plays Marla’s Southern-belle-pageant-queen character with an irresistible Tinkerbell energy that steals scenes. Even without the sparkling wit of SIX, each “queen” brings down the house with the power of her performance. Their energy is infectious, but ultimately cannot save the script. 

The genius of SIX is the way that it redefines the general perception of each of Henry VIII’s wives to generations who might know nothing about them beyond that one six-word rhyme. But FIVE either doesn’t seek to, or is not capable of, giving the same treatment to the Trump women. And while this might be the writers’ cheeky way of saying that the Trump women don’t ultimately deserve to have their characters more closely examined, the script certainly doesn’t make even a parody effort to do so. 


Book and lyrics by Shimmy Braun and Moshiel Newman Daphna

Music and lyrics by Billy Recce

Directed and choreographed by Jen Wineman

Approx 90 min

Cast includes: Anyae Anasia, Gabriella Joy Rodriguez, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Gabi Garcia, Hannah Bonnett (and special appearance by Jasmine Rice LaBeija)