Danny Visconti is HILL-BENT: My Night with Hillary Clinton
nytheatre.com review by David Fuller
August 11, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is the star about which orbits the comic musings and musical amusements of Danny Visconti in his fast and funny one man show, Hill-bent, My Night with Hillary Clinton, directed by Connor Gallagher. Assisted by Music Director (and co-author) Adam Wachter at the piano, Jeanette Stenson (at my performance) on the cello, and Jessica Ryan on PowerPoint projections, Visconti takes us through the highs and “high” highlights of his purported night spent with Madame Secretary, a raucous and somewhat raunchy time of mutual confessions and musical interludes that moves briskly in the telling and keeps us humorously engaged.
At the top, Visconti confesses to an obsession with Ms. Clinton that began when he was stumping for her during the Democratic primaries of the last election, back when he was in college in Ohio. He clearly believes in her politics and indeed there is certainly a passion for Clinton and her political point of view here in the show, especially at the beginning. But Visconti doesn’t belabor any points and soon gets down to the events as he claims they unfolded after his recent attendance at a Bill Clinton Foundation fundraiser for which Hillary was the keynote speaker.
Mistaken for Rachel Maddow (they do look remarkably alike) Visconti is swept up by the Secret Service from the line in front of the theater and whisked to a prime spot in in the ballroom VIP section. Some fainting spells, (by him) tequila shots (by both) and sundry drugs (by, well, you’ll just have to see the show) later, Clinton and Visconti are embarking on a midnight limousine tour of Manhattan that would be the envy of any metrosexual club-hopping couple. It is a vivid and fun story with a fitting surprise ending.
Now, it isn’t all just about Hillary; there are tangential digressions into Visconti’s time performing on cruise ships and even a song about his gay triplet cousins who apparently have made quite a name in the porn industry. (Yes gay triplet porn.) Somehow however Visconti ties it all together in this show about Hillary, and it works because he is a talented comedy writer. The music itself works too: the melodies are mostly parodies of known tunes, yet they don’t fall flat because the lyrics are clever. The live music is performed quite well and Visconti is an accomplished singer, making the show a pleasure to hear. Director Gallagher’s staging and pacing also suit the show perfectly, making it fun to watch.
All in all, this is a highly recommended way to spend an hour during this FringeNYC. Visconti and company have struck a nice balance between send-up and reverence that even a Republican will love.