THE Capitol Steps has been delighting audiences with political satire for over 30 years and is now something of a national institution. The group was born in December 1981 ('when Reagan was president and ketchup was a vegetable') when some Senate staffers got together to devise entertainment for their upcoming Christmas party. They came up with the novel idea of satirizing, to music, the very hands that fed them. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The show is constantly changing, in order to accommodate the latest financial scandals, health care issues, political fortunes or misfortunes and anything else that can be laughed at and has good rhyming potential.
Since this is an election year, their latest offering, performed at the Lensic on September 25th as a benefit for the Santa Fe Community College, is aptly called, TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN… FOR PRESIDENT.
The versatile cast of five delivers spot-on impressions of notables such as Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Sarah Palin and a quite brilliant skit featuring George W. Bush Jr. The songs are all parodies of well-known classics, resulting in titles such as, 'I've Grown Accustomed to My Facebook' and 'If I Tax a Rich Man.'
Most of the performers have worked on Capitol Hill and clearly delight in mocking their previous employers. THE Capitol Steps currently consists of 26 members, which means (since they operate in groups of five) that they can perform public and private shows all over the country, all year round. Some of The Cast have been 'Stepping' for over 20 years and the group performs like a well-oiled machine.
The show has no agenda, other than to make fun of anyone or anything within the political spectrum. And no-one is spared; republican or democrat; gay or straight; Arab or Jew, Moslem or Christian… nothing is taboo. But the irreverent humor is always good-natured, original and very, very funny.
Especially notable is a skit featuring Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the song, 'Scalia,' sung to the tune of WEST SIDE STORY'S 'Maria.' And Matt Pearson's appearance as Obama, is also wonderfully comical.
THE Capitol Steps performs holiday specials, broadcast live on NPR stations around the country, on New Year's Eve, April Fool's Day, Independence Day and Halloween. So check with KUNM or KSFR, to find out what time the show airs. If laughter is the best medicine, THE Capitol Steps is guaranteed to cure whatever ails you.
Find info. on live appearances, albums and more, at www.capitolsteps.com
NPR stations: www.kunm.org (Albuquerque) and www.ksfr.org (Santa Fe)
Photograph by Richard Termine