Randy Rainbow — the singing satirist who rose to YouTube super-duper-stardom — is coming home to South Florida.
The political parody performer has packed up his latest stage show, “The Pink Glasses Tour,” for a stop at Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Aug. 28.
He’s not traveling alone. “Pink Glasses” features a live band of Broadway musicians backing Rainbow, and he’s got a suitcase of original songs co-composed with Marc Shaiman (”Hairspray,” “Mary Poppins Returns”) and Alan Menken (”Little Shop of Horrors,” “Beauty and the Beast”).
In addition to dishy stories and an audience Q&A session, the show has Rainbow performing some of the Broadway showtunes he has musically morphed into skewering videos taking down politicians and other newsmakers. For example:
Carol Burnett’s “Shy” from “Once Upon A Mattress” becomes “Gay” while he ridicules Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.“Dance: Ten, Looks: Three” from “A Chorus Line” is a witty dismissal of the GOP’s response to gun control laws.It’s not all politics. Through the magic of video editing, Rainbow has mocked-up “interviews” with Barbra Streisand and Robert Downey Jr. as well as speed-dating with Tom Cruise and Anderson Cooper.
Speaking of Burnett, she counts herself as one of his celebrity supporters, along with Ryan Reynolds, Sharon Stone, Hillary Clinton, Ana Navarro, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Julie Andrews, Rosie O’Donnell, Martin Short, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Steve Martin. These famous faces join a growing reach of more than 3.2 million followers across his social media accounts.
And yes, Rainbow is his real name. Just ask his mom who still lives in Plantation where he grew up, graduating from Plantation High School and performing on the local theater scene before moving back to New York City to break into showbiz. Fun fact: At the Hollywood Playhouse here in SoFlo, he often shared the stage with Josh Gad (movies “Frozen” and “Beauty and the Beast” and Broadway’s “The Book of Mormon”).
Below, find excerpts from an exclusive South Florida Sun Sentinel interview with the 41-year-old internet star.
Q: Is there anything that you just absolutely must do or can’t wait to do when you get back to South Florida?
A: I’m excited. I’m excited to go [home]. My mother is still there. I have lots of friends and family, so I see a lot of familiar faces when I go there. And really I’m excited to just get on the stage and perform there. Really that’s the most exciting thing because [the Broward Center] is where I went as a kid to see all these touring shows and artists who inspired me to do what I do now. So to get the opportunity to go and take my show to some of those same stages and perform is really like dreaming.
Q: Have you noticed that every time you’ve performed in South Florida in recent times, it’s on a bigger stage? In January 2018, it was Sunshine Cathedral. Later that year, in November and December, you were at The Parker. Now you’re playing the Broward Center.
A: Well, that’s good news. They [are] going in the right direction, I’m very happy about that.
Q: So does the venue size change your performance in any way? I guess I’m asking you: Does size matter, Randy?
A: Let’s get right to it. Yes, size actually matters. You know the … response from my audience always plays a part in what I put out there and what I produce. So yeah, I always factor in the [size of the] crowd and the fact that it’s a bigger audience. This is the first time I’m bringing this ’Pink Glasses Tour’ to a Florida stage. And certainly, there’s a lot bigger costumes — the wardrobe is certainly louder. We’ve certainly bumped up our tent a bit. So I think this is suited certainly for a bigger audience.
Q: For the uninitiated, tell them why this is called “The Pink Glasses Tour”? By the way, I love that you’re selling three different models of pink glasses in the merchandise section of your website.
A: Yeah, we’re trying to kick that up a notch. And pink glasses is sort of a prop that I use often in my videos. They have kind of become a character of their own and have taken on a life of their own. But they started out really as just sort of a gag and just a silly Halloween prop, but took on more meaning and continue to as the years go by. People send me pictures of them wearing their own pink glasses. It means even more than that. There are people who send me these messages about how wearing their own pink glasses has helped them through challenging times in their lives. Some of my audience sees them as a symbol of many things, one of which I think is just sort of being sassy, telling the truth. Because whenever I put the pink glasses on in my videos , you know I’m about to deliver some sort of kill shot. So they’ve just become sort of my superhero cape, and I’m thrilled to say that I’ve written songs for them. They have their own theme song written by myself and Alan Menken, the legendary Alan Menken.
Q: Speaking of which, you worked with Alan Menken and Marc Shaiman on your holiday album ‘Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas!’ and I was hoping you could tell us more about the new songs you just referenced, the ones that are in the touring show?
A: Alan Menken and I wrote a song for my latest album, which is called “A Little Brains, A Little Talent.” That’s my first full-length studio album. And Marc and I wrote the theme song for my Christmas album, and he again wrote another song for me called “Randy Rainbow for President!” — which is the big grand finale to this tour. So it’s very exciting because when I first started touring, it was really, you know, just doing the parody stuff. So to now have two original songs that are both so personal to me, that I was able to co-write with these two legendary Broadway composers who have inspired me so much over the years, is really thrilling. And it really kind of speaks to what you were talking about earlier: My audience is getting a little bit bigger.
Q: You recently roasted Gov. DeSantis, so are there any plans to add more to the grill, as it were?
A: You know, I’m still building my Ron DeSantis repertoire. So I’m sure that there’s going to be a lot of Ron DeSantis material. Right now, we kind of have just a few on the margins. And I’m assuming he’ll be in the audience. I’m sure he’s a fan. But … as the months go by, unfortunately, I think that there’ll be a lot more Ron DeSantis material.
Q: And you’re arriving in SoFlo when the entire world is focused on this region with the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago. There’s so much low-hanging fruit to make fun of here now, don’t you think?
A: I’m working on a new parody now that sort of covers all of the bases of what’s been going on in the last month. It’s like 2019 again. I have to watch the news and I keep having to update my lyrics.
Q: I know that you frame yourself as an entertainer and not actually a political activist, but more of a showman. But do you think it’s odd or worth commenting on that this phenomenon doesn’t seem to work on the other political pole? There is no one even close to your millions of views doing parody from the viewpoint of the far right.
A: Well, you know, I guess that speaks for itself. I never set out to make any sort of political statement. I wasn’t hired by the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and Nancy Pelosi to do what I do, although some people think that I have. I go where the humor is, and I go where the spoofing is. And that’s where it is. Having said that, I have tried to become more politically aware than when I first started this 10 years ago, certainly, I think we all are. People in my audience do kind of see me as an activist. And some of the material, like the Ron DeSantis , is a little more politically charged and opinionated, because I read something that speaks to me personally. And I think it’s important that I acknowledge that I have some sort of platform now to speak on issues like that. But yeah, my first and foremost goal is always to entertain. And it just so happens that people on the other side of the aisle have the best material. I don’t know why that is.
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Q: Last question: Anything you want to say directly to your SoFlo fans coming to the show?
A: Get ready for a fabulous evening. We are going to have lots of fun. And if you’re sitting anywhere near my mother, please make sure you’re wearing a mask. She is a national treasure and we must protect her at all costs. And, if she tries to talk to you during the performance, I apologize in advance.
WHAT: Randy Rainbow’s“The Pink Glasses Tour”
WHEN: 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022
WHERE: Au-Rene Theater at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
COST: $37-$57; plus $127 Spirit Club Level seats and $97 VIP tickets (which include premium seat location and a meet-and-greet with Rainbow after the show)
INFORMATION: 954-462-0222; BrowardCenter.org