The Tony-winning actor and singer is due to unveil a new single Friday called “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with a Plan,” a politically tinged send-up of 1950’s “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag.”
Dropping tomorrow, the music video will find Benanti and a troupe of dancers executing Rockettes-style choreography as images of the White House and, of course, Melania’s infamous Christmas decorations appear behind them. Unlike the original, “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with a Plan” swaps out Santa Claus for President-elect Joe Biden, who Benanti hopes will make America “feel normal again.”
In an interview with HuffPost, Benanti said she found inspiration for the new song by watching classic holiday movies like “White Christmas.” She revised the lyrics in collaboration with comedian Randy Rainbow, who is known for skewering President Donald Trump and other members of the current administration with his musical YouTube series.
“Randy’s brand of satire is my cup of tea and he was the first person I thought of for a holiday parody like this,” she said. “I’ve been wanting to collaborate with him for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity!”
“(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with a Plan” wraps up a busy year for Benanti, who won a Tony Award in 2008 for “Gypsy” and is beloved by Broadway fans for her performances in “She Loves Me” and “My Fair Lady,” among other musicals.
As well-received as her version of Melania has been, Benanti is ready to move on, and in October, she unveiled her self-titled solo album. Before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, she’d planned to launch the record, which features versions of classic songs as well as pop tunes made famous by Selena Gomez and Rufus Wainwright, with a residency-style series of concerts in New York.
Instead, Benanti wound up spending most of 2020 hunkered down with family in New Jersey, and sadly, lost a grandmother to the coronavirus.
But 2021, as well as the waning weeks of 2020, are looking up. She’s the executive producer of “Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020,” a documentary-style special featuring performances by high school students whose school productions were canceled by the pandemic and slated to debut on HBO Max next week. And she’s currently filming roles on “Younger” and the much-anticipated “Gossip Girl” reboot.
As for the incoming White House administration, she’s hopeful Biden’s plans for COVID-19 will include stipulations for the performing arts, the future of which remains uncertain amid the ongoing pandemic.
But until then, she hopes viewers find some solace in “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with a Plan.”
“Honestly, I just want to make people laugh, and give them some holiday cheer,” she said. “If I’ve learned anything during the four years I’ve portrayed Melania Trump … it’s that the crazier things are, the more we need to laugh, and 2020 has been crazy as hell.”