Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 23, 2008

Capitol Steps

Capitol Steps
Cranwell Resort, Lenox
through August 31
By Shera Cohen

The presidential campaign is perfect timing to see Capitol Steps – a parody on the news of today for the sheer purpose of laughs. Each summer, Cranwell hosts these zanies as they take the headlines and rewrite them into new lyrics to familiar songs.

A quintet of exceptionally talented comedians/actors/singers takes the small stage.

The emphasis is on comedians, however it must be noted that each is a skilled vocalist as well. Humor is the key to getting to the audience’s non-stop laughter. The troupe is lively, energetic, not subtle, and work up a visible sweat. Pianist Marc Irwin is a whiz at the keys, as he musically holds the program together.

Combine “Saturday Night Live” with “Mad TV” and “South Park” (yes, it is a bit adult-rated) and there you have Capitol Steps. Add on the ugliest and cheapest costumes, wigs, and a mustache made of duct tape; props that look stolen from an elementary school playground; and the show gets better and better with each vignette.

No celebrity or political figure is sacred: Obama, McCain, Hillary and Bill, Gore, Huckabee, et al. No subject is taboo with the funniest being the mangled lyrics of “What Kind of Fuel Am I,” the Chinese president’s take on the Olympics, and the ozone problem sung in-the-round. Of course, GW was the brunt of many skits, including one spoken backwards.

For those who have seen Capitol Steps and think there is no reason to go again, there is. As the news constantly changes so do the segments, music, and lyrics of this show. If you’ve seen it once there’s plenty of reason to return.