by Mark G. Auerbach
The Capitol Steps, the musical political satire troupe that has skewered Republicans and Democrats for 35 years in music and mirth, is spending the summer at Cranwell in Lenox, MA. The political antics of the 2016 Presidential campaign, and other world affairs, have given the Capitol Steps an abundance of material, and their fast-paced hour and a half revue, constantly updated as the candidates and world leaders make fools of themselves, is frivolous and fun, even if one ponders how America got this way.
In a moment of transparency, I must say that over the years, I’ve produced several of the area Capitol Steps performances, and done publicity for others. This is the first time that I’ve been able to sit through a performance, without being preoccupied with production or performance responsibilities.
This summer show is called “What to Expect When You’re Electing” which is also the title of the new Capitol Steps CD. In the course of 90 minutes, we got glimpses of singing and dancing Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Rachel Maddow, The Pope and more. Janet Gordon nailed her impersonation of Hillary Clinton, and Jack
Rowles was an hilarious Bernie Sanders (and later Bob Dylan). Mike Thornton delivered one of the Capitol Steps signature laugh pieces, “Lirty Dies” John Bell captured the essence of Obama, and Bari Biern and Thornton were funny as a nun trying to get through airport security and a TSA inspection. Pianist Emily Spitz kept the music going at a fast clip throughout the performance.
Kudos to this cast of The Capitol Steps, John Bell, Bari Biern, Janet Gordon, Jack Rowles, Emily Spitz, and Mike Thornton. There are frequent cast changes, since The Capitol Steps perform every weekend in Washington, DC, and they tour nationally as well.
Cranwell has spruced up a new performance space for The Capitol Steps, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The Capitol Steps play nightly (except Tuesdays) through September 2. The program frequently changes, but for a preview of what’s currently being performed, check the Capitol Steps website, which has song excerpts and links to their YouTube channel. And, if you can’t get to Cranwell during this summer’s run, the Capitol Steps perform every Friday and Saturday in Washington, DC and at venues across the country. For details: www.capsteps.com.
Cranwell presents The Capitol Steps in What To Expect When You’re Electing. through September 2. Cast (on July 11): John Bell, Bari Biern, Janet Gordon, Jack Rowles, Emily Spitz, Mike Thornton. For tickets: 413-881-1636 or http://www.cranwell.com,
Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He’s worked for arts organizations and reported on theatre for newspapers and radio.