A New York City audience at a gala on Monday evening were treated to a surprise performance when three-time Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep strolled onstage dressed like presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Streep’s real face was hidden beneath a thick layer of orange makeup and she wore a white dress shirt and black suit along with a comically too-long shiny red tie at the 2016 Public Theater Gala. Her hair was fixed into a Trump-esque pompadour — reportedly, all the hair was hers — a certainty that’s been called into question with the man whom she was portraying. The getup surprised everyone backstage. Streep had gone to considerable lengths, even skipping the celebratory dinner beforehand, to keep the performance under wraps.
Streep and Christine Baranski were the show’s closing act and they performed a song from the musical Kiss Me Kate called “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” The song’s lyrics give advice for picking up women. In this case, they were altered slightly to reflect the idea of picking up women voters. “If she says your behavior is heinous, kick her right in the Coriolanus!” Streep sang. The crowd howled in approval. High-profile people like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were in the audience along with U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, Bette Midler, and Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Photos and tidbits of the performance made their way onto social media drawing numerous retweets and shares. The show’s organizers insisted Streep, who’s been a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter, came up with the idea on her own. “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,” the show’s director said. Others noted that Streep’s preparation for the role compared with the preparation she’s put into some of her Oscar-winning screen performances. She even mastered a little-noticed Trump mannerism to perfection.
Of course, Streep has been known to surprise audiences with live performances before. In April, at the Women in the World Summit in New York City, she launched into brief performance of part of a song from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Watch it below:
Read the full story at The New York Times.