The hunky Chris Hemsworth may have been the official host, but it was Will Ferrell whose cold open as his President George W. Bush kicked off the show.
In light of the current spread for the Republican presidential candidacy, Ferrell as Bush entered his plans to enter the race. "The field of Republicans out there is so messed up, I figured it makes you miss me, doesn’t it? And that’s sayin’ a lot," joked Ferrell.
Ferrell first brought his version of our 43rd president to life on the TV comedy show during the campaign for the 2000 election, and continued throughout Bush's two terms in office. Ferrell's impersonation was so well-loved that the comedian brought President Bush to Broadway for the special limited engagement You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush at the Cort Theatre, with the first preview on Jan. 20, 2009, the night the real-life Bush left the White House. The show was also broadcast live on HBO Mar. 14, 2009 to an audience of 2.3 million.
Ferrell's parody operated on that simple premise that "the devil you know is better the than devil you don't," but one thing American can be sure of: Just as George Bush was temporary in the early oughts, this field of Republican candidate hopefuls is also "only for now."
"It's time for a change in America, but not without a few parting words from the 43rd President of the United States," according to You're Welcome America press notes. "Don't miss your chance to discover the man behind the myth, the truth behind the lies, and the logic behind the illogical in this limited Broadway event."
The production featured scenic design by Eugene Lee, costume design by Tom Broecker, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald and video design by Lisa Cuscuna/Chris Cronin with choreography by Matt Williams and flying effects by Flying by Foy. Charles Means was the production stage manager.