YouTube sensation Randy Rainbow brought The Pink Glasses Tour to The Chicago Theatre on Oct. 22. Best known for videos that parody musical numbers with a focus on politics, the heavily curated show began with a montage of his hilarious vignettes.
One of the most interesting things about Rainbow is that Randy Stewart Rainbow is his actual name. He even displayed his birth certificate on the big screen for proof. Lucky for him, rainbows continue to grow in popularity and represent the LGBTQ+ community, which is what his act is built on. He was born gay in New York to a Jewish family.
He reminisced about his various jobs over the years before suddenly producing a viral hit with a Mel Gibson video, in 2010. He edited the video to make it appear he was having a conversation with the unhinged celebrity and gained many followers after releasing it. It landed him more than 60,000 views on the site in one week.
Thanks to his numerous parodies, Rainbow has lots of source material. He wore a custom-made glittery suit and made several costume changes during the evening. His four-piece band kept the party moving and helped smooth out the transitions. The 90-minute show, which had no intermission or opening act, was not only polished but well-choreographed.
The tour is a music lover's dream, as audiences can play along by guessing the names of tunes and musicals they originated from during Rainbow's song list. "Pink Glasses" is one of the few complete originals in his act, and was written by longtime Broadway creatives Marc Shaiman and Alan Menken.
Rainbow's solo album A Little Brains, A Little Talent drops Friday, Oct. 29; it is filled with a guest stars such as Tituss Burgess, Sean Hayes, Patti LuPone and Bernadette Peters.
Rainbow has come a long way since his original goal of being "Weird Al" Yankovic with showtunes. The now two-time Emmy-nominated performer effortlessly knew how to work the sea of people that attended his latest project that night. Some of the best moments were when Rainbow interacted with the front row. A diehard fan offered her husband to him, accompanied by gales of laughter. When Rainbow asked on the mic where to go after the show to cut loose, several screamed, "Sidetrack!"
Just like Musical Mondays at Sidetrack, Rainbow's life seems to be a cabaret full of music montages. The Chicago Theatre is a massive venue to fill and hold anyone's attention from the far-off balcony. While an intimate setting would be best for his art, he managed to hold his own and kept things moving. At one point, he sustained a high note that proved he has the chops for these renditions and tackled the tongue twister "Super Callous Fragile Egocentric Braggadocious"set to the song"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"with ease.
Rainbow's videos now constitute a time capsule to depict the rise of former President Donald Trump into power and what the United States went through during his presidency. People sometimes choose to laugh at past trauma to deal with it and Rainbow makes it easily digestible for those around him. Laughter can be the best medicine and this country is still healing every day. The Pink Glasses Tour succeeded with reminders of the rollercoaster people in the United States have survived in the past few years.
Attendees for this particular night at The Chicago Theatre represented wide ranges in age and diversity. Trump supporters and anti-vaxxers were obviously not going to feel welcome in Rainbow's circle of friends. Vaccine cards were checked at the door and Rainbow was ready to read (with his glasses) any spectators who disagreed with him. At times, he would drop the pleasantries and drip with sarcasm to great effect.
In one segment he took us inside his closet and, several times, promised to give readers more backstory with an upcoming book titled Playing with Myself that is set for release next year. Rainbow should be admired for the hurdles he's overcome and his sense of humor at a crucial time in history.
Regarding Trump's rise to power, Rainbow used The Music Man's "Ya Got Trouble" to warn supporters, and a parody of Rent's "Seasons of Love" called "Seasons of Trump." All that was needed was a bouncing ball to complete the singalong section.
For those who continue to recover from Trump's time in office, this was the clever show that many needed to see. Rainbow's latest material for The Pink Glasses Tour only works for a limited time, much like a viral video, which will force him to expand his brand and come up with more original material, as with new projects planned in 2022. Visit RandyRainbow.com to follow Rainbow on his tour.