Review: Love’im or hate’im, Michael Moore remembers Flint in rambunctious Broadway debut

By Donald Harbin

Michael Moore is either loved or hated by people familiar with him. As a filmmaker (12 films) and author (8 books), television producer (3 shows) and outspoken political activist, he has produced enough material to offend many people, endear him to others, and leave some bewildered. With a new television show in the works he has still found time to star in a one-man show on Broadway, ‘The Terms of My Surrender.’

My wife Elizabeth and I have known Moore for more than 40 years, long before we were married, going back to the mid-1970s and his East Village Cinema on the old UM-Flint campus. As a fund raiser for his alternative newspaper, The Flint Voice, Michael would show movies at the theater, and for a buck one could see a classic film on the big screen. We went on dates to those films, when we were both college students studying art at Mott Community College.  In the days before video and VCRs,  his film series was a great way to see movies that would not be available elsewhere locally.

Don Harbin and Liz Perkins-Harbin at MM’s one-man show, “The Terms of My Surrender”

When he announced via Facebook that he was taking to Broadway in a one man show, we quickly scooped up tickets for his third preview performance July 31 at the Belasco Theater on 44th Street in New York City (It opens officially Aug. 10 and runs for 12 weeks). We decided to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (Nov. 19) a little early by taking a trip to New York City.  Our paths and his have continued to cross at political rallies and such so it was important for us to see him in his Broadway debut.

Moore opened the show by entering through a giant American flag that filled the entire stage. With his usual wit and satire he had the sold-out crowd cheering, applauding, gasping and sometimes crying– for over an hour and a half. Talking about himself, he told of writing a short eye-popping theme about Abraham Lincoln at age 17 for an Elks convention.  He related at 18 being the youngest person in the country to win an elected office on the Davison School Board; having a bold encounter with President Reagan in Germany; and a host of other funny stories.

He mentioned how his book Stupid White Men was nearly shredded into oblivion before it even appeared on a bookshelf and how it was saved by a lone librarian from New Jersey.

Six failed attempts on his life left two of his body guards with severe injuries and his ongoing need for permanent protection around the clock.

A sobering account of the Flint water crisis came near the end of his show which literally had the audience asking why Governor Snyder is still in power.

Keith Olbermann made a surprise appearance on stage and promptly updated Moore and the audience about news that happened while we were all in the theater, and there was a hilarious game show segment involving members of the audience.

Michael ended the show with a routine that surprised everyone, including himself, I do believe! Granted the show was aimed at those opposed to the current president, as is Michael Moore, and there most likely were not any Trump supporters in the audience, so one can say he was really just preaching to the choir, but the underlying current of the show was that one person can make a difference. One doesn’t have to be as loud as Moore, one just has to take a stand when it is necessary to do so.

We both enjoyed the show, were glad that we made the trip to New York, and highly recommend it if you have the chance to see it.

First-time EVM reviewer Donald Harbin recently retired from over 40 years as a U.S.P.S. mail carrier and lives with his wife Elizabeth Perkins-Harbin in the College Cultural Neighborhood.  His “art car,” built to minimize the chance of repeated auto thefts, has been a local favorite and staple at various parades and car shows.  

Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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