The 2016 Inner Circle production of “Shamilton” achieved once-in-a-decade results: a sold out audience, rave reviews, and a mayor’s rebuttal that was an instant lead story, remaining near the top of the news cycle for several days.
“Shamilton” was a spoof of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” about rival politicians each determined to do away with the other. In “Hamilton” it was founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr; in “Shamilton” it was floundering fathers Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Show night started as is usual with a full house of NYC notables networking at the cocktail party sponsored by Con Edison, then finding their tables and curtain up. The reporters’ parody of local and national politics – our 94th – was received for the most part with the customary cautious laughter and polite applause. But there appeared to be more moments of genuine hilarity and foot-tapping from the crowd – a clear indication that the show was well received.
(Friday night’s dress rehearsal was a full scale blowout, with the packed grand ballroom rocking with laughter, shout outs, cheers and applause. We also sold record numbers of t-shirts and journals.)
Then came Mayor Bill’s rebuttal – his third.
Joining the mayor on stage was Leslie Odom Jr., co-star of “Hamilton,” for a continuation of the theme of dueling political rivals.
Some stand up (stiff), some video (meh!); but then an interruption.
From stage left out came surprise guest Hilary Rodham Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for President. She was in NYC campaigning for the New York State primary to be held ten days later.
“Thanks for the endorsement,” Clinton interrupted. “Took you long enough,” she deadpanned to de Blasio.
“Sorry, Hillary. I was running on C.P. Time,” de Blasio replied, riffing on the phrase “colored people time,” meaning always late.
“That’s not — I don’t like jokes like that, Bill,” Odom said.
Clinton then stepped in to complete the brief gag with an assurance that her belated supporter meant, “‘Cautious Politician Time.’ I’ve been there.”
The Clinton-de Blasio big moment became a big blunder when the joke — built off the stereotype that black people are chronically late — fell as flat as a cheer for the LA Dodgers at Citifield.
“Painful.” “Cringing.” “Mayor struggles on stage.” Those were some of the descriptions online, in print and on video.
In fact, the skid was a better parody of the pols by the pols than the Inner Circle could have devised. It was truly life imitating art.
Here are some of the stories resulting from our show and the mayor’s controversial rebuttal. Click on the titles.
Some of the proceeds from the Inner Circle show go to more than 100 NYC-based charities and non-profits.
2016 was a very good year.