Cranwell Resort, Lenox, MA
July 1 – September 2, 2016
By Shera Cohen
In the Spotlight (ITS) had the pleasure of interviewing actor/singer/comedian Jack Rowles. Jack is one of the mainstays of Capitol Steps, having been with the troupe for 15 years. This presidential nomination year also marks Jack’s 10th season at Cranwell.
ITS: Describe a typical performance. Is each night unique?
Jack: Each night is unique. Each audience has its own personality. For example, with a Capitol Steps show it seems that most audiences have the personality of my mother. She laughs at everything, and her laugh is one of those annoying cackles that comics love! (intended affectionately)
ITS: How politically savvy were you prior to Capitol Steps?
Jack: Prior to Capitol Steps I was mainly familiar with that news story about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. After 15 years with the group, I can name every Senator and Congressman dating back to 1963, give or take a few in the Dakotas.
ITS: How easy or difficult is it to add new scripts and become new characters?
Jack: Sure, we need to learn new material on a regular basis, ESPECIALLY THIS YEAR! But that's the easy part. Coming up with the new material is the hard part. Our writers, Elaina Newport and Mark Eaton, are the brains and brilliance behind this zany entertainment. After every show we meet the audience in the lobby. Our audiences are not shy about offering their opinions on everything, which can sometimes be as funny as the show. But, the most common comment about our show is, "The writing is hilarious and brilliant." I agree.
ITS: What are your favorite roles?
Jack: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, Mitt Romney, and the Pope. Only because these are a few of the characters I am playing in our current show. And, this particular year is being referred to as the Golden Year in Political Satire. It's a great time to be in The Capitol Steps!
ITS: Do you have input in the show's preparation?
Jack: I've contributed only two jokes. I know, not very impressive. BUT, both of those jokes were Killer! Otherwise, I think each performer comes up with a funny, fresh take on today's political figures.
ITS: Do you think of yourself as an actor, singer, comic, or all three?
Jack: I like to think of myself as all three, but what really matters is how others see me. Recently, I met a lovely couple on a flight home from a show. After talking and laughing with them for a bit I mentioned that I'm a performer. The woman then blurted out, "What are you? A comic?" So, I guess I'm mainly a comic.
ITS: Are there any onstage or backstage anecdotes you would like to talk about?
Jack: Jerry Springer came to our show. He sent word ahead that he'd like to make a guest appearance. He's a huge fan. So, we added him to one of the songs. After his bit, I was lined up to do the next song. WELL, I guess I was totally star struck, because as soon as I went on stage I had no idea what my first line was. I think I was taken by how different he was from his TV persona. Or, I was worried that he might ask me if I had fathered the child of my cousin's ex-girlfriend.
Performances are held every day except Tuesdays at 8pm. For information call: (413) 881-1636 or go to http://www.cranwell.com/dining#item-6