Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 19, 2009

Capitol Steps

Cranwell Resort, Lenox, MA
through September 6, 2009
by Shera Cohen

Lightning, thunder, near-hail size rain, and a dark sky at 6:30pm in July were reasons not to venture out for any cultural activity. However, the show was Capitol Steps, and even though this reviewer has seen CS a half dozen times in the past, every show is new. Get the raincoat and run from the car to the vestibule of Cranwell.

A quintet of comedians/actors (2 women, 3 men), plus one pianist are the members. While material, both in stories and songs differ from week to week, the show's format is constant. The purpose: lambaste politics, celebrities, and current events to the tunes of familiar music with clever and oftentimes uproarious lyrics, while wearing incredibly awful costumes. Each of the five play numerous roles as one skit immediately follows the next, giving the audience little time to breathe between laughs.

No one is off limits to receive a jab. Of course, those in government receive the brunt of the satirical lyrics; i.e. Obama, the Clintons, Biden, Pelosi, McCain, and even George W. The latter never knew that the White House had a library. An example of the to-the-minute CS's script was the rifle-packin' ex-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Starting with three songs to the tunes of "Mama Mia," the troupe's other background music included Broadway and 50s/60s sounds. Octomom was picked on for "littering," Susan Boyle had not yet discovered make-up, Korea's leader needed a haircut, and auto company execs bemoaned their decreased bonuses. The greening of America was set to song, as was the topic of prescription drug commercials.

A constant treat in each show is the backwards, twisted malaprops of contemporary politics. The first letter of a word is juxtaposed with that of the next word. Just when it seems impossible to understand this very fast repartee, it's all clear and very, very funny.

One word of advice is to arrive early for two reasons: pick your seat in the least cramped aisle, and CS is often a sell-out.