Pennsylvania Avenue meets Broadway in Capitol Steps‘ farcical revue of contemporary politics. Comprising an ensemble of multi-talented former Hill staffers, Capitol Steps offers a musical send-up of political buffoonery on both sides of the aisle in their twice-weekly DC shows. The troupe’s retooled classic pop hits and show tunes take the governing class to task with wit and glee, while their ever-evolving repertoire promises timely satire at any point in the election cycle.
Like most political minds, the show’s libretto changes from week to week, mixing recent news spoofs such as “Don’t Cry, I’m From Argentina”– sung by a newly-crowned Francis I (Jack Rowles)–with classics including “Embattled Hymn of the Republicans.” The finale, “We Didn’t Start Satire,” races through the past 30 years of political misdeeds with the help of Billy Joel’s instrumentals and a clever box of props. Both the songs and stories referenced tend to be fairly mainstream, and the impressionist ensemble are generous in their self-introductions.
The songs are the main event, but there are also spoken intermezzo appearances by various news figures. There is a good balance of individual caricatures (Corey Harris nails Obama’s trademark speech-delivery style) and situational satire (the TSA, health insurance providers, and Arizona border patrolmen all have cameos).
The Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
(Note: this is a Federal building. Bring photo ID)
2 hours with 1 intermission
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm
Tickets: on-line, or call 202 397-SEAT, or 703 573-SEAT
Entering their 32nd year, The Capitol Steps deserve their reputation as a mainstay of political comedy in DC. Their impressions are on-point, and surprisingly clear given that the group works mainly with a collection of varied wigs and props. Their lyrics, also, are ingeniously crafted.
During the show, the group plugs their website, guaranteeing it will be the first place to find out what rhymes with recent news, and they’re not lying. [Here’s this week’s taste, “Down the Road” with the Republic and Democrat budgeteers.]
The company’s breadth of songs and subjects makes for an evening of laughter for both locals and tourists, Democrats and Republicans.
Capitol Steps . Lyrics by Elaina Newport, Mark Eaton, and the cast . Produced by Elaina Newport . Reviewed by Robert Duffley