Ever wondered what goes on behind the scene of a Broadway performance? Look no further than Lincoln The Musical, directed by Artie Brennan and Anthony Giordano. The film is an over the top, faux-documentary film that pokes fun at the stressful and competitive world of show business. It follows Katie (Katie Hutch), the play’s lead, as she navigates an egotistical director, an offensive choreographer, and an unfit producer trying to make a trap-musical about the life of Abraham Lincoln a hit.
The intricate world building in the film is its most impressive aspect. In classic documentary-style, talking head interviews are spliced between various other media: snippets of Katie’s previous acting credits, news footage of the buzz surrounding the show, or choreographer Robert Fah-Say’s breakout ballet performance (Fah-Say played by director Anthony Giordano). The film also includes many clever remixes to quintessential theatre tunes and plays on the titles or names of prominent media icons and brands. The film quickly and effectively creates an alternate dimension where the worst of theatre’s stereotypes come true.
Lincoln The Musical spans nearly three months leading up to the show’s opening night, and focuses on the teamwork (or lack thereof) between the shows cast, crew, and stakeholders. Hutch as Katie perfects the bright eyed and bushy tailed excitement of an actress getting their “breakout” role, who’s overenthusiasm impedes her better theatre training. The rest of the play’s production crew feel extremely out of place: top Soundcloud rapper Lil Post Maloney (Artie Brennan) insists on dropping “skkkrt” throughout the musical numbers to the dismay of classically trained composer Willian Johns (Adam Blotner). Meanwhile, director Michael Ocean (also played by Artie Brennan) comes to this historical drama adaptation with a background in poorly C-G-I-ed superhero action blockbusters: a cause for concern by the play’s main investor, Kenny Schumacher (Anthony Giordano).
A few of the performances only get better over the duration of the film. The play’s Mary Todd Lincoln (Forest Vandyke) mirrors Katie’s naivety, but with even less hesitancy for some of the play’s more outrageous aspects. He goes from disappointed that he is considered for the secondary lead, to claiming that Mary was his “dream role”, and by the end, credits Lincoln with his professional success. The composer, William Johns, hits his peak during the cast’s camping retreat, turning campfire songs into a brutal rehearsal, especially for the poor, untalented cast member playing John Wilkes Booth (Jamie Benson).
Several of the characters take camp to a new level. Lil Post Maloney’s grill slowly impedes his speech more severely over the course of the film, and the washed up choreographer Robert Fah-Say, totes a cigarette through rehearsals, which he conducts from his wheelchair. These two characters are pivotal in the main conflicts as Lil Post butts heads with co-composer William John, and Fay-Say is just a plain old jerk to the cast; however, at times they are so camp that they are borderline unbearable. Despite some of their more cringeworthy moments, the fact that they are never questioned by the play’s cast, who bow to their every demand, elevates the entertaining and absurd nature of their antics. In the end, Lincoln The Musical’s many moving parts succeed in keeping its audience engaged, with constant twists and clever comedic interjections.