‘Ghost of John McCain’ comic musical gets thumbs down from Arizona political icon’s daughter

Apr 5, 2024, 4:25 AM | Updated: 8:32 am

Late Sen. John McCain, shown giving a thumbs up during his 2008 presidential campaign, is the subje...

Late Sen. John McCain, shown giving a thumbs up during his 2008 presidential campaign, is the subject of a new musical called "Ghost of John McCain." (AP File Photo)

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX – A new comic musical called “Ghost of John McCain” will debut in New York this summer, but the late Arizona political icon’s daughter isn’t happy about the project.

“This is trash — nothing more than a gross cash grab by mediocre desperate people. I hope it bombs,” Meghan McCain said Tuesday in post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The new production is set for an off-Broadway run at the Soho Playhouse from Sept. 3 through Nov. 5, which is Election Day.

“The timing for this production is extremely relevant. Our goal is not to be just another poker turning up the heat, but to bring some relief, relevance and comedy to everyone in the body politic,” Jason Rose, co-lead producer, said in a press release.

“We may be in a presidential election year, but this is an evergreen story anchored by the tension and dynamic between two titans of the past century. The musical is surreal.”

Why is Meghan McCain panning “Ghost of John McCain” musical?

Perhaps the reason Meghan McCain isn’t thrilled about the use of her father’s image is that the “Ghost of John McCain” takes place inside the mind of former President Donald Trump.

Trump often clashed with the longtime senator and has made disparaging remarks about him multiple times, both before and since McCain’s death in 2018.

In the play, McCain finds himself trapped in Trump’s mind in the afterlife. Hillary Clinton, Eva Peron, Teddy Roosevelt and Lindsey Graham also appear as characters in the story.

Meghan McCain added context to her concerns in a Wednesday X post, saying she didn’t know the people who made the stage show and calling it “disrespectful to my family and father’s memory” and “just as gross as what Trump has done himself.”

New comic musical has ties to Arizona politics beyond John McCain

“Ghost of John McCain” is directed by Catie Davis, whose credits include work as associate director for the Broadway hits “Beetlejuice” and “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”

Rose conceived the new political satire along with another late Arizona political icon, Grant Woods, who died in 2021. Woods, a former state attorney general and top aide for McCain, was a longtime Republican who became a Democrat in 2018 in response to the direction Trump was taking the GOP. Outside of politics, Woods was an attorney and aspiring playwright.

Rose’s work may be familiar to Valley theater fans. His Scottsdale company, Quixote Productions, created two topical plays that premiered at Phoenix Theater Company in recent years, “¡Americano!” and “Tiananmen.” ¡Americano! went on to an off-Broadway run.

Max Fose, who worked as a consultant for McCain, is co-lead producer for “Ghost of John McCain.”

“Having served for nearly two decades, I believe Sen. John McCain would laugh at this entertainment and be grateful his legacy continues to spark important conversation from the serious to the absurd,” Fose said. “This musical will remind America our democracy is worth fighting for.”

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‘Ghost of John McCain’ comic musical gets thumbs down from Arizona political icon’s daughter