Jan 18, 2024 - News

Plans moving forward on McCain musical with hopes of opening around Labor Day

A smiling man gives a thumbs up next to an open airplane door with the word McCain written on it.

John McCain in 2008. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The producers of a John McCain-themed musical will move forward with their plans and hope to debut the show in New York later this year after getting a positive reception at a recent reading.

State of play: Arizona public relations consultant Jason Rose, co-producer of "The Ghost of John McCain," told Axios Phoenix he was "pleasantly surprised by the range of reaction, from hysterical, falling-out-of-your-chair laughter to even tears and sentimentality near the end."

  • Speaking for himself and co-producer Max Fose, he says, "It was the theatrical focus group we were hoping for."

What's next: Rose says they'll begin raising money and looking for a theater to host the musical, hoping the show will open off-Broadway around Labor Day.

What he's saying: "We're also just wrestling with, what do we actually have on our hands?" Rose says. "Do we have a glorified SNL skit? Do we have a cult classic, like a 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' for politicos? Do we have an exaggerated, absurdist version of the 'Capitol Steps?' Or do we have the next 'Book of Mormon?'"

Context: In the musical, McCain finds himself inside former President Trump's mind, along with a Greek chorus that includes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Trump attorney Roy Cohn, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and others.

Between the lines: Rose provided Axios Phoenix with a script of the show, offering a sneak peek at the dialogue and songs.

"Heaven or a Three-Star Hotel?"

  • Sung by McCain, thinking initially he's arrived in heaven, as he takes in his gaudy-yet-somewhat-dilapidated surroundings.

"I Told You So"

  • Sung by Clinton about her unheeded warnings of a Trump presidency.

"Good Boy"

  • Sung by Graham, clad in an "unusual looking collar," about his obsequious relationship with Trump.

"Art of the Deal" and "Art of the Deal (Reprise)"

  • Song alternately by Trump and Cohn

"Dance Like You're About to Die"

  • Sung by much of the cast, led by a character credited as "Sexy Lady Fox News Anchor"

"Tweet Storm"

  • Sung by Trump's Brain, a separate character from the former president, and featuring a scene where Trump accidentally posts his famous "covfefe" tweet because McCain distracted him.

"LALA"

  • "Let America Lose Again," sung by McCain, accompanied by much of the cast.
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