Meryl Streep’s latest physical transformation for a role has taken a red tie, a hairpiece, and a face full of fake tan.
The New York Times said Streep’s Trump was “more than credible ... down to the pursed lips and low-hanging belly”: “She got the braggadocio-inflected voice, too, even while singing.”
Her performance was said to be something of a surprise even to organisers, with Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater’s artistic director, giving full credit to Streep.
“Utterly her idea, beginning to end,” he told the Times. “There were skeptics, there were doubters, but one of those skeptics was not Meryl Streep. She was absolutely sure she could do it. None of us had seen her in costume or makeup till she walked out tonight.”
Actor Kate Burton, who also performed at the gala, said Streep was demonstrating Trump’s mannerisms in their shared dressing room before the show.
“He apparently does this thing, where he goes to close to his jacket but it doesn’t close all the way, and so he kind of goes for it and then he tries to close it again,” Burton said.
“She treats this like she would her greatest roles: she’s working on it all the time.”
Her surprise appearance at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park delighted audience members, many of whom shared the news on social media.
Streep as Trump joined her Mamma Mia co-star Christine Baranski, dressed as Hillary Clinton, for the closing act of the gala benefit: a number from the 1948 Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate – adapted from The Taming of the Shrew.
The two performed the duet Brush Up Your Shakespeare, written by Cole Porter and most often performed by male gangsters giving advice on how to quote the Bard to woo women.
Some lyrics of the original were changed, with the Boston Globe reporting that Streep “got bawdier as the song went on”: “Problem now with society, we’re all hung up on propriety ... She can sample my Measure for Measure.”
Trump’s thoughts on the portrayal are not known, though he has previously expressed admiration for Streep, personally and professionally.
“Meryl Streep is excellent,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “She’s a fine person, too.”
Streep issued a statement to the New York Times through a Public Theater spokeswoman on Tuesday afternoon: “I appreciate the interest, but this was a one-off, a once in a (last in a) lifetime appearance of this character.”
The performance followed news Clinton, who Streep has expressed open support for, has become the presumptive Democratic nominee, making her the first woman to nab a nomination from a major political party.
Michael Moore, the filmmaker behind Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, last year suggested that Streep herself run for president on a Democratic ticket.
“The Republicans knew Reagan knew how to talk to American people and get them to vote. In this case you have a beloved person who happens to be in the movies but is also smart and has a heart and is curious,” Moore said.
This article was written by Elle Hunt, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 8th June 2016 02.18 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010