Let’s start with the campaign strategy behind Lincoln 2020 — a play about campaign strategy. The branding/marking for this show — from ’Abe’ Starbucks cups to Lincoln on the subway — was my first indication that there was some serious thought put behind this production. This was clever and told me all I needed to know prior to seeing the show.
Writer/Producer Holiday Kinard has created a wonderful world in which icons from the past (Abe Lincoln & Jesus Christ) are forced to reckon with the modern American political system. It sounds absurd… and it is… but it’s also one of the most creative political commentaries I’ve ever seen. Director Colleen Labella has grounded this idea for the stage. The production moves smoothly and the stage is fully utilized. This is a strong collaboration between writer and director.
Allie Leonard is a hell of an actor who runs a hell of a campaign as ‘Tess Baker.’ I wanted to work for her. Tim Kopacz’s ‘Lincoln’ was inspiring. And Eric Delgado’s ‘Jesus’ was an irresistible puppy… how could we NOT vote for him at the end? Rebecca Knowles electrified each of her scenes. Dan Torson was a chameleon and reminds me of a young Michael Shannon both in his appearance and range as an actor.
RS Buck’s video work should not be overlooked as it was superb and elevated each scene. Video and projections can often be problematic for the stage (even on Broadway) but Buck’s motion graphics were clean and always served a purpose.
What I didn't like
I wish I could’ve seen both endings… a great reason to come back.
My overall impression
Political junkies and theatre lovers alike will relish in the wonk and weeds as Allie Leonard (Tess Baker) takes you behind-the-scenes of Lincoln’s 2020 campaign. A must-see production with one of HFF’s strongest ensembles.