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JAVANKA: Back In New York is a genius concept from ultra-talented duo Sarah Naughton and Jake Weinstein; the performance uses America’s favorite medium, Broadway showtunes, to give Jared Kushner (Weinstein) and Ivanka Trump (Naughton) a chance to tell their side of the story back on New York City soil. It’s all happening at Feinstein’s/54 Below THIS FRIDAY (February 15th) at 9:30pm, and you can still grab a ticket right here.

I caught up with Weinstein and Naughton over email recently to talk about the process of developing the show, whether or not we’ll see any of Ivanka’s clothing line represented on stage, Jared and Ivanka’s theoretical go-to karaoke tunes and MORE! You can internet-eavesdrop on our full digital chat below, and be sure to catch ’em IRL this Friday!

So first and foremost, what was the first conversation you had about possibly doing this show? 

Sarah Naughton: It’s funny because both Jake and I remember it a little differently. We were working on a 10 minute musical parody set that was based on Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim. And then I think I came up with idea for us to do it as Jared and Ivanka. But Jake remembers that he thought of it. We’ll just never know! Either way, one of us pitched the idea and we both immediately recognized it was a gold mine.

And then how did you go from that initial idea to actually developing it? How long was that process?

Jake Weinstein: So we had done a show before at 54 Below called Trapped In The Closet based on Sarah’s real life day job narrating audiobooks, and they had asked us back to perform again. Once we came up with the Javanka idea, we pitched it to 54/Below and they loved it! We knew there was enough material to do a full cabaret and then some. As a matter of fact, we’ve had to cut about half of the ideas we’ve come up with because our show was going to be 3 hours long (we only have 1 hour). We conceived the idea in October and we finished it last week.

The whole thing sounds great, but are there any portion of the performance in particular that you feel especially proud of and/or excited for the audience to experience?

SN: We wrote an original song that I’m really excited to share with an audience. The rest of the material is parodies of pre-existing musical theater songs. (that are also super fun).

JW: Yeah there’s one selection from A Chorus Line that I’m particularly excited for!!

Will Sarah be wearing any of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line during the show? (Which I thought had shut down, but appears to be alive and well at Dillard’s?)

SN: Oh my god that’s genius! It honestly didn’t occur to me to wear her clothes but that’s brilliant. I used Rent the Runway to find my costumes! They have a pretty bangin’ unlimited subscription that I believe they’re running a discount on right now. (Word to the wise).

Aside from potentially the Russian national anthem, what do you think Jared and Ivanka’s go-to karaoke song is IRL? 

JW: I could see Jared rocking out to “Under Pressure” by Queen and Bowie.

SN: I’m gonna say “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. I think she would rock it.

And the show is happening the day after Valentine’s. What do you think Jared and Ivanka do to celebrate the actual holiday?

SN: My guess is something super Instagrammable and sweet like a home cooked meal with the kids. Something that makes them seem really down to earth. Image is everything.

What other projects do you guys have going on now and/or in the near future that you’d like to take this opportunity to plug?

JW: We have a couple original musical shorts that we’ll be releasing online! We’re very excited about our next one called “Mythical Creatures” (shot and directed by Johan Anderson) about mythical creatures and the girls that love them. We had a blast writing the music and shooting it and can’t wait for everyone to see. We’ve even included a sneak peek for you!

And aside from career-related things, what are you feeling most excited for and/or optimistic about in 2019?

JW: I’m excited to keep making music!!

SN: I’m getting married this October! So I’m very excited AND optimistic about that.

Featured photo by Ryan Brinkmann

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