Tony nominee Tina Landau’s latest musical Dave, now premiering at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., got the attention of CBS This Morning July 30. Theatre and politics collide in the new stage adaptation of the Oscar-nominated 1993 movie about an ordinary guy who looks like the President serving as a body double for the Commander in Chief. But when the real President has a stroke, Dave gets stuck in the job.
Actors Drew Gehling (Waitress) and Mamie Parris (Cats) play Dave and the First Lady. “I'm going full Millard Fillmore, Zachary Taylor, I like to go for the really forgettable presidents,” Gehling joked to CBS correspondent Ed O’Keefe. But Gehling has gained inspiration from more recent real-life politicians. “There’s a lot of ‘isms’ that are inherent in politics. There are a lot of very specific hand movements that get used by everyone.”
Landau says that while references to politics and The White House are inescapable, she’s not directly linking anything to today’s landscape. “We've very purposely tried to keep it timeless, but in doing so we have found that it remains timely every day in new ways,” she said.
”I feel like the show is a lot about participation,” she continued, “participation in our politics and also in our personal relationships.”
“Everybody that lives and works in Washington, D.C., especially, no one came here to be a part of a problem,” says Gehling. "Everyone came here to fix something or was sent her to fix something and I think the altruism inherent in that is something that Dave is about.”
Watch the full video above.