Yes You Can — See The New Obama Musical Theatergoers are packing a concert hall in Frankfurt, Germany, for a new musical about Barack Obama, but the show's creator says the production isn't just about the president.
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Yes You Can — See The New Obama Musical

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Yes You Can — See The New Obama Musical

Yes You Can — See The New Obama Musical

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GUY RAZ, host:

Tonight in Frankfurt, Germany, about 2,000 people attended a rock, hip-hop, gospel, half-English, half-German musical extravaganza with the unashamedly kitschy title "Hope: The Obama Musical Story."

(Soundbite of musical, "Hope: The Obama Musical Story")

Unidentified People (Actors): (As characters) (Singing foreign language)

RAZ: Gilbert and Sullivan this is not. And Randall Hutchins, the American writer and composer behind the musical, admits he's not necessarily making high art. The idea to write an Obama-inspired musical came to him in 2008, just after the election.

Mr. RANDALL HUTCHINS (Author and composer, "Hope: The Obama Musical Story"): You know, it was a very electric time. There was a lot of electricity in the air and positivity. It was so inspiring. And, you know, of course Obama's message was very inspiring. You know, people have different feelings now, but you know, we're talking about history.

RAZ: So describe the story of the musical.

Mr. HUTCHINS: It's kind of everyday people in - living in Chicago, a Chicago community, and each one of them represents a stereotypical situation that people were having in 2008, you know, with job loss and, you know, losing their homes and stuff.

(Soundbite of musical, "Hope: The Obama Musical Story")

Unidentified People: (As characters) (Singing) (Unintelligible).

Unidentified Man (Actor): (As President Barack Obama) (Singing) Here come the house (unintelligible).

Mr. HUTCHINS: It was chaotic, you know. We were in chaos at the time, and we are still in somewhat chaos. But we go from chaos to actually having some hope. So we take a look at the election from their vantage point.

RAZ: I want to play a clip of the song "Am I Enough?" for a moment.

(Soundbite of musical, "Hope: The Obama Musical Story")

(Soundbite of song, "Am I Enough?")

Unidentified Woman #1 (Actor): (As Michelle Obama) (Singing) How will I know that I'm enough for him?

RAZ: Randall Hutchins, let me try to describe this scene. I believe it is an actress playing Michelle Obama, and she's singing about her love for Barack Obama. How do you think the president would sort of feel about this fictional version of his personal life?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HUTCHINS: I don't know. I always get a little - he strikes me as a guy kind of like myself. I would be kind of bashful about somebody doing a musical that centers around something about me. But the way this is done is not at all times flattering to him. So, I don't know. He might want to punch me on some scenes, and he might want to hug me on other scenes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HUTCHINS: So, you know, it's a mixture, you know.

RAZ: Why do this in Germany? Why not put it on here in the United States?

Mr. HUTCHINS: Well, I'd probably get shot, for one, you know, right now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HUTCHINS: No, but remember when I started in the end of 2008, things were a little different. And I just happened to be living here in Germany at the time.

RAZ: Do you think that Germans will appreciate it more than Americans might?

Mr. HUTCHINS: I think so. Europe has a much more global perspective on the situation back home, where you are, and I understand the fact that, you know, my family included, people are impatient. People on the ground there are living this catastrophic situation. They're not looking at things with a global view, a world view. They're looking at it like I live in Detroit, and it sucks.

But here, they deal with a little bit more of the situation idealistically, and so they remain supportive.

(Soundbite of musical, "Hope: The Obama Musical Story")

Unidentified People (Actors): (As characters) (Singing) Rock the vote, turn your vote over.

Mr. HUTCHINS: Now, I'm not a politician. I'm not a social activist or a political activist. I'm a musician and songwriter. He inspired me because he inspired the people, and it's really the people that inspired me. I saw change in America.

RAZ: Randall Hutchins is the author and composer of "Hope: The Obama Musical Story," which premiered tonight in Frankfurt, Germany.

Randall Hutchins, thanks for joining us.

Mr. HUTCHINS: Thanks a lot.

(Soundbite of musical, "Hope: The Obama Musical Story")

Unidentified People (Actors): (As characters) (Singing) Rock the vote, turn your vote over.

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