Rock Star Candidate Takes Center Stage in Washington, DC

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Landless Theatre Company opens the season with the DC premiere of President Harding is a Rock Star by Obie winner Kyle Jarrow, Creator of "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant"

2008 Best Musical Pick of The Fringe

The Landless Theatre Company presents the DC premiere of President Harding is A Rock Star at DCAC, October 30 - November 30. The musical is by Obie winning playwright-composer Kyle Jarrow, creator of "A Very Merry… Scientology Pageant," and mounted by director Melissa Baughman and her musical team that won the "2008 Best Musical Pick of The Fringe" with "Diamond Dead."

"President Harding Is A Rock Star" runs October 30 - November 30 at DCAC. Performances are Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 PM. No performance November 27. November 23 and 30 at 3:00 PM.

Long before Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, Warren G. Harding was a hard-living, hard-loving rock star. Harding gambled away the White House china in a poker game. He appointed gangsters and con men to cabinet positions. He trysted with his teenage mistress in the Oval Office closet. When he died of "food poisoning" from bad crab in 1923, rumors of murder swept the country. President Harding Is A Rock Star tells the whole sordid tale in glam-rock concert style, and Warren G. Harding himself explodes onto the stage like John McCain wearing David Lee Roth's codpiece.

This absurd rock musical was first produced by New York's Les Freres Corbusier in 2004. Landless' Washington premiere marks the second production of the play to date, and in the heat of the current election craze, promises to be the most poignant production yet.

"There's certainly the sense (seen in Obama-- but much more so in Palin, now) that politicians without a whole lot of experience can be embraced and propped up by the political machine and come to symbolize much more than what they alone stand for," playwright-composer Kyle Jarrow said. "Their very newness and un-politician-ness gives them a rockstar status that makes them seem simultaneously more like us, and more like the kind of people we aspire to be."

Resident Director Melissa Baughman believes that President Harding's Meteoric Rise sends a warning to Obama, Palin and the other rockstar candidates. Baughman most recently directed Diamond Dead (winner of the 2008 Best Musical Pick of the Fringe), and has also directed productions of Batboy The Musical, Night of the Living Dead, and Ohashi's Godzilla.

"Harding would tell Obama and Palin to brace themselves for an explosion of self-doubt, deceitful friends, and giant poisonous crabs," said Baughman. "On the other hand, McCain's been around long enough to become one of the giant poisonous crabs, so he doesn't have to worry about it."

The production stars Landless Artistic Director Andrew Lloyd Baughman (Landless' Gutenberg! The Musical! and Diamond Dead) as "Warren G. Harding," Dave Bobb (Synetic's Animal Farm) as "Harry Daugherty," and introducing Richelle "Rikki" Howie (Toby's Dreamgirls, Millie, and Ragtime) as "First Lady of Rock Florence Harding."

The supporting cast/band includes: Brett Abelman, Esther Covington, Katie Molinero, Josh Speerstra, Karissa Swanigan, and Jen Tonon. Band Direction by Josh Speerstra. Vocal arrangements and direction by Andrew Lloyd Baughman. Costumes by Elizabeth Reeves. Scenic Design by Jared Davis. Lighting Design by Peter Vargo. Prop Design by Melissa Baughman.

"You'll have to see for yourself the detrimental effect that a combination of giant crabs and glam rock can have on a man," Melissa Baughman said.

President Harding Is A Rock Star runs October 30, 2008, through November 30, 2008, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM. No performance on November 27. Performances November 23 and 30 at 3:00 PM. All performances are held at The District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC) located at 2438 18th Street, NW in Adams Morgan. Admission is $18. For tickets and information visit

There will also be a special late-night 10:00 PM performance of Diamond Dead (Best Musical Pick of the Fringe 2008, from the composer of Rocky Horror Picture Show) on October 31. Tickets are $25, and will benefit the 2009 Fringe tour to New York, Washington and Philadelphia. The Rock Star Governor of Alaska will make a special appearance.

Visit for details on the Landless Theatre Company's season.

About Landless Theatre Company: The Landless Theatre Company is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to infusing vitality into the local arts by producing exciting and accessible alternative theatre to generate new and diverse audiences. More information and production history online at


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