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I attended the star-studded August 10 opening of Michael Moore’s Broadway debut, the mostly one-man show The Terms of My Surrender, in which the Flint native rails against Donald Trump and shares stories about how one person can make a difference. In my review the next day, I noted that there was a handful of important flaws; other critics were somewhat less generous (amid some raves). With all that is going on in the world, overwhelming us on a constant basis, I decided to revisit the Belasco Theatre the next week to see if Moore and director Michael Mayer had made any important changes and how Moore might incorporate the violent white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The show turned out to be much better the second time around. Moore was more comfortable (though not when it comes to dancing), several cringeworthy lines and a dreadful bit were cut, and no special guest arrived for the interview segment. Trump’s words relating to Charlottesville were projected across the stripes on the American flag that hovers behind Moore, and the proceedings had a more agreeable narrative flow. Moore did note at one moment that he went ahead with a line his producers wanted him to get rid of, and he made a point of explaining that he would not have done the show unless the producers agreed that all balcony seats would sell for $29, something he did not say on opening night, so perhaps the show has indeed undergone some necessary and successful nipping and tucking. Whatever the case, The Terms of My Surrender improved greatly upon repeat viewing, even if Moore is still preaching to the converted. However, I’m unlikely to go back a third time; as with presidents, two “terms” are enough.