The 90th Annual Inner Circle Show was underway when protesters marched through the New York Hilton’s Grand Ballroom carrying signs criticizing the event’s outrageous $750 ticket price, allowing only the top 1% to afford a seat. The men and woman stormed the stage as the audience held its breath. Fortunately, the protest was part of the show, a political musical spoof titled “Preoccupied” based on the Occupy Wall Street movement. The show’s first act, “Park Politics,” was set in Zuccotti Park, the scene for the actual protests.
The show was written, produced, and performed by an elite group of past and present New York City journalists. “Park Politics” featured Mayor Michael Bloomberg, played by Andrew Siff of WNBC, and Lady Gaga, played by Melissa Russo also of WNBC, strategizing to guarantee the mayor a strong finish after three terms in office. The skit included video showing the real Mayor Bloomberg’s now famous kiss with the real Lady Gaga as the duo rang in 2012 in Times Square. Russo, the Inner Circle Show President of 2012, donned many of the pop singers fantastically outrageous outfits, including a replica of the much talked about meat dress.
The performers pulled no punches, taking aim at the Mayor for his manner of speech, being wealthy and out of touch, banning trans fats and smoking, and his constant battle with the teacher’s union. To the tune of “Free to Be You and Me,” Siff sang “Free To Be Bloomy,” and joined by Russo as Lady Gaga, they performed versions of “Edge of Glory” and “Born this Way.”
The show touched on other news makers, including former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his fall from grace over his sexting scandal. Weiner, played by Glenn Schuck of Clear Channel and 1010 WINS, took the stage in a towel and robe while singing “Wacky Weiner” to the tune of “Rockin’ Robin.” Weiner had been a strong contender to replace Mayor Bloomberg before his Twitter pictures were revealed and the “Wacky Weiner” skit referred to the fact he still may have a chance because of the not so strong hold of other potential candidates. Mayoral hopeful City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, was played by Juliet Papa of 1010 WINS, who came on stage wearing a wedding gown and veil and sang “When I’m Mayor” to the tune of “No Bad News.”
Another mayoral hopeful, City Controller John Liu, came in for ribbing with David Diaz’s rendition of “Secret Asian Man” to the tune of “Secret Agent Man.”
News events that featured other celebrities were spoofed as well, including Hazel Sanchez of WCBS TV and Paul Murnane of CBS 880, appeared as Beyoncé and Jay Z singing to “Empire State of Mind” called “NYC Delivers (If You’re Rich)” taking a jab at the couple paying to shut down a portion of Lenox Hill Hospital’s maternity wing while Beyonce delivered baby Blue Ivy in a luxury VIP suite.
Back at Zuccotti Park, Phil O’Brien of Zazoom LLC played Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, featuring the NYPD’s clash with protesters and the recent conflict over targeting Muslims in New York and New Jersey to infiltrate possible terror rings. O’Brien, along with a back up of Inner Circle’s singers, belted out the tune “Accelerate the Stop and Frisks” to the tune of “Accentuate the Positive.”
The second act of the two hour performance, “Campaign Madness,” was set in the office of Schtupp, Schnook and Schnorrer. Loosely based on the show Mad Men, the skit spoofed the 2012 presidential campaign with jokes about GOP candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. While not as strong as the first act, the second act had its moments. Veteran journalist Gabe Pressman, portraying Newt Gingrich dressed as an astronaut, received roaring applause after belting out “Build It On The Moon” to the tune of “Fly Me To The Moon.” As Rush Limbaugh, Larry Sutton of OK Magazine, sang “Birth Control Killed The Radio Star” to the tune of “Video Killed The Radio Star.” Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential campaign, Mark Lieberman of CUNY TV as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sang “Everything’s Coming Up Andrew” to the tune of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” And we have to mention 1010 WINS Senior correspondent Stan Brooks as Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks.
Then it was Mayor Bloomberg’s turn to take the stage for his rebuttal. The Billionaire Mayor recruited the cast of Broadway’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, including teen heart throb Nick Jonas, now playing J.Pierrepont Finch. In the mayor’s version, How to Succeed in Business by Michael Bloomberg, he gave Jonas’s character advice from the manual, Bloomberg by Bloomberg. Jonas sometimes came out of character, referring to himself as “the cute one,”or responding to requests for autographs from the stage hands or the orchestra.
Bloomberg made fun of his own crack down on smoking and trans fats by declaring an exaggerated ban on coffee. The mayor also took the stage alongside actor Beau Bridges, also appearing in the Broadway show, for a skit about Cornell University hoping to build a high tech facility in the city. While the Mayor didn’t fly through the air as Spiderman or ride on a donkey, stunts he performed in past shows, he did indulge in several song and dance numbers, several bridging on acrobatics, with the assistance of other cast members. There was a reference to Lady Gaga, with one of the cast members also portraying the pop star.
Also participating in some of the song and dance numbers were New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway and Press Secretary Stu Loeser.
At the end of the evening, Bloomberg summed it up in true mayoral fashion: “The one thing we all agree on is that we live in the greatest city in the World.”
The annual Inner Circle Dinner is a charity roast that benefits dozens of organizations in the New York area.