“Capitol Steps” Star in Fun Fest at Historic Crighton

It was a rollicking good time for the sold-out crowd that attended the recent post-election fun of the “Capitol Steps” at Conroe’s elegant Crighton Theatre. The event, sponsored by the Montgomery County Performing Arts Society, featured often-hilarious political lampoons from one of the country’s best-known comedy troupes. A talented pianist at the onstage baby grand smartly accompanied the clever cast of five as they supplied an abundance of witty songs and timely humor. Sadly, the printed program did not acknowledge the names or backgrounds of these talented performers. But that would not diminish the fun in store for all. Armed only with four microphones and a small curtain behind which to quick-change costumes and wigs, our players were off and running with the non-stop fun that began in 1981 when a group of Senate staffers decided to plan some amusing skits for a holiday party. The idea of spoofing Washington life became so popular that the group now performs about 500 shows a year, touring in 49 states.

At this performance things opened up with an amusing take on TV’s “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy,” and a parody of “Greased Lightning” from the show, GREASE. The song was titled “Go Crazed Right-Wing.” An amusing musical spoof of Gilbert & Sullivan’s tune,“The Very Model of A Modern Major General,”lampooned John Kerry’ s alleged flip-flops with “The Very Model of Positions That Are General.” There was a great take-off on the final Presidential Debate featuring an equally terrific impression of debate moderator, Jim Lehr. He subjects the candidates to a joke-telling contest with the perennial “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?” Kerry rambles on about “The wrong time, the wrong chicken, and the wrong road.” Bush rebuts with “We need to bomb those chickens!” While rejecting the idea of a mandate with “It leads to gay marriages,” Bush also shows his appreciation upon re-election by saying: “Thanks for electing me for real this time!” He proudly declares that “Uncertain times call for uncertain leadership!” As for the loss of the budget surplus, Bush tempers that bad news with the good news that he has “…just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico!” The cast polled the post-election audience on party affiliation, and it was clear from the applause that conservative Republicans were predominant. The cast commended that audience for “taking the night off from watching Fox News.”

There was more musical fun when “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley,” became a witty “Hang Down Your Head Tom Daschel.” There were cute skits like the one in which airport security thoroughly examines a traveling nun while several obvious terrorists slip easily past the guards. Advertising was spoofed as well, with products like “Votagra” designed to ward off “electile dysfunction” and “…have you back in the voting booth in no time, and your chad won’t be hanging!” Kerry was skewed again with “I’ve Taken Sides on Both Sides Now,” and a new version of the country hit, “Achy, Breaky Heart,” that became “My Fakey Purple Hearts.”

A raspy-voiced Bill Clinton was nicely paired with a hilariously over-the-top Hillary. And even Arnold Schwarznegger made an appearance with great accent and a song (based on “The Wanderer”) spoofing his womanizing with “They Call Me the Fondler.” One gentleman in the cast showed great skill in telling tales in a kind of Pig-Latin that he called “Backward Tales.” It was an amazingly difficult routine, and the audience was given sample sheets of its construction in the lobby, but not before giving the talented cast a much-deserved standing ovation.

(The Courier    11.26.04)

About The People's Critic

David Dow Bentley III, writes columns about the performing arts which are featured in newspapers from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast. A member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), The International Theatre Critics Association, and America's oldest theatrical club, The Lambs, he also had long service as the editor of The Lambs' Script magazine. Mr. Bentley may be contacted via e-mail at ThePeoplesCritic3@gmail.com.
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