Laughing at the U.S. government is a national pastime, and The Capitol Steps, a group of bipartisan, singing satirists, gleefully present views of the follies and peccadilloes of the nation's politicos and policies. No matter who or what is in the headlines, the Steps hit both sides with delightful derision.
"There's no rest in the political-satire business," says Elaina Newport, producer, co-founder and writer for the show. "Just when you're ready to leave the office, someone tweets his underwear, and you have to turn around and go back to work."
What: The Capitol Steps
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1
Where: Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford
Tickets: $32, $35 and $38, or $23, $26 and $29 for ages 18 and younger
Call: 541-779-3000 or see www.craterian.org
The Capitol Steps will put politics and scandal to music at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford. Tickets cost $32, $35 and $38, or $23, $26 and $29 for ages 18 and younger. Tickets are available at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., Medford, and www.craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000.
The Steps formed in 1981, when Newport and several other staffers working for the late Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois were planning entertainment for a Christmas party.
The staffers' first idea, according to www.capsteps.com, was to stage a nativity play, but they couldn't find three wise men or a virgin in the entire U.S. Congress. They decided to dig into the newspaper headlines of the day and create song parodies and skits that carry satirical humor.
The Medford show will feature Barack Obama, played by Matt Pearson, singing "If I Tax a Rich Man," a song fashioned after the showtune from "Fiddler on the Roof," and Mitt Romney, played by Mike Tilford, rapping "I've Got Big Bucks and I Cannot Lie," along with the "Debate Skit," with Romney and Obama debating just how the chicken did cross the road.
"The show's not just about the election," Newport says. "It's everything that's in the headlines, from Europe's financial woes to airport security."
The material is kept constantly crisp by daily headlines, and there are multiple casts, allowing shows to be presented in different cities at the same time. The show is presented every Saturday and Sunday year-round in the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
"We do the shows with three men and two women," Newport says.
"Everyone plays dozens of roles," Newport says. "They're running on and off the stage to change costumes, wigs and accents. I think there are more changes in the show than at a Cher concert."
Since '81, The Capitol Steps have recorded more than 30 albums. Its 2012 "Take the Money and Run — for President" lampoons Republican hopefuls and one Democrat who's worried about losing his job, along with politicos in the spotlight over the past year: Anthony Weiner, Moammar Gadhafi, Chris Christie and, of course, Sarah Palin.
The CD's musical satire pokes fun at all sides of the issues, the GOP campaign, Citizens United, the Tea Party and more. It may be the one new thing in Washington, D.C., to earn bipartisan support.