As a follow up to the critically acclaimed, 1997 run of his original folk-music drama, THREE SONGS, Bill Mesnik chose as his next subject, the history of the American presidential campaign song. That choice would result in a year's research, leading him through the Smithsonian Library, the archives of Sing Out magazine, the vanishing vinyl racks of Thrift Store shelves, and the internet to find the juiciest bits of musical political savagery ever produced in this country.
"I read that 1996 was the first year since 1924 when a majority did not vote," mused Mesnik, "and, I wanted to musically explore why my generation had become so disillusioned and cynical." That was just the launching point. Mesnik was amazed as song after nasty song scrolled past, revealing a deeply twisted, but amazingly tuneful legacy. Some of these odorous delights, offered on Sunday, November 4th at 7:30 at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, will astound and amuse music and history buffs alike. BILL MESNIK: MUDSLINGER, is a romp through the hamper of American History's dirtiest musical laundry.
Among other tidbits, you will sample Stephen Foster's magnificent tribute for what some have claimed to be our worst president, James Buchanan; THE JEW OF LOMBARD STREET, William Jenning's Bryan's jaw-dropping salvo against William McKinley; and probably the most vociferous--William Henry Harrison's full-frontal attack on Van Buren. Van Buren, really? Yep.
In many ways, this is also a personal history, as well, admits Mesnik, a graduate of Yale Drama School, and veteran of Broadway (La Bete), television (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and films(Titanic, Minority Report). "The first time I voted was in 1972. That time was as polarized politically in this country as it is now. For a long time after I just backed away from the whole process. This was my method of finding the way back."
Join us at the Sierra Madre Playhouse on November 4 - the eve of Election Day 2012 for wonderful musical artistry and perspective on the history of American Political Campaigns from talented musician and entertainer, Bill Mesnik. For further information visit our website at http://www.sierramadreplayhouse.org or contact our box office at (626) 720-2820. General admission $20.