If the patriarchy had a pop-music anthem, what would it be? There are lots of possibilities—the very word pop is a synonym for dad—but some plausible contenders will be burned in musical effigy in Do Re #MeToo, a virtual concert in which prominent women and non-binary performers give ironic twists to some of the most sexist songs ever written.
Hosted by Lizz Winstead, who co-created The Daily Show, Do Re #MeToo will be streamed on Crowdcast at 9pm EDT (6pm PST) on Thursday, September 17. The lineup of performers includes Broadway leading lady Laura Benanti, comedian Margaret Cho, RuPaul's Drag Race standout Peppermint, Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's, Nina Gordon and Louise Post of Veruca Salt, Sally Timms of the Mekons and many others.
"Pop music has done a stellar job of helping men’s rights activists make their case that women are basically weenie garages, here to serve at the pleasure of the patriarchy," says Winstead. "An evening of badass feminists throwing their lyrics back at them is cathartic, and also hilarious AF.” Tickets are pay-what-you-wish, and proceeds benefit the pro-choice performance group Abortion Access Front.
The song list is mostly under wraps, but we chatted with the übertalented Benanti, a five-time Tony nominee (she won for Gypsy) and regular Melania Trump channeler. The song she will be covering, she revealed, will be the wretched Burt Bacharach–Hal David ditty "Wives and Lovers," an advice song for married women that was a hit for future Love Boat crooner Jack Jones in 1963. (Sample lyric: "Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers / You may not see him again.") The song will also appear on Benanti's self-titled latest album, which will be released next month.
"My album is a throwback thing, so I was listening to old songs and that one came up and I was blown away, genuinely, that it was a real song and not a parody," Benanti says. "My concern with putting it on that album was, like, Are people going to think I'm being sincere? At the end I go off on a whole tangent about it, but you gotta get to the end! I think these songs now have to live in sort of tongue-in-cheek land, or else they have to be used as examples of how far we've come and where hopefully we will never go again—although under the current administration it’s looking more and more like we are regressing."
That's one reason she's happy to be involved in a project that benefits a pro-choice cause. "I notice that it tends to happen when something big and splashy is in this news—that’s when they go and roll back even more women’s rights," Benanti says. "Nobody notices because literally the world is on fire or there’s a global pandemic or a Black person has been shot by a police officer or children are being separated from their parents and kept in cages indefinitely. There are so many horrifying things that happen on a daily/weekly/moment-to-moment basis that practical matters such as women’s reproductive rights are sort of falling through the cracks. We need to continue to raise awareness for all of these issues—but my issue of the week is this."
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