The Capitol Steps Comedy Troupe Comes to Hylton Center Sept. 22

| September 16, 2012 | 0 Comments | Arts & Entertainment

Song, skits and plays on recent politics make Capitol Steps a hit in red states and blue alike.

If you have enjoyed political parodies and have the presidential politics on your mind, might we suggest The Capitol Steps comedy troupe.

The Capitol Steps return to the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Sat., Sept. 22, 2012 at 8 p.m. for a hilarious evening of bipartisan spoofery that kicks off the Hylton Center’s 2012-2013 Hylton Presents season.

Based in Washington, D.C., this hysterical musical comedy troupe has entertained audiences for more than 30 years with their clever political musical parodies that lampoon those on both sides of the aisle. During those years the Capitol Steps have become a treasured institution both inside and outside the beltway, even beloved by targets of the group’s satirical humor.

Writer Mark Eaton explained the process of comedy writing for Capitol Steps as well as what new material to expect in their autumn shows.

“Well, it’s always a fast paced look at the headlines. Of course the election is the big story, a lot of bits on Mitt Romney, of course there will be the Chick-Fil-A issue, Justice Roberts deciding on Obama Care, and then Greek debt crisis,” Eaton said.

For those still counting on hope and change in their politics, there is good news. Eaton said he and the other writers are constantly creating new skits, and audiences can expect plenty of  new material generated from the two recent national party conventions.

“The material is always fresh,” said Eaton. Over the course of 90 shows a year, there might be 30 different songs and skits that he and the other writers on his team have assembled.

Of course, Mitt Romney is one of the leads, if not the lead character this year, and Paul Ryan will also have  his turn in the spotlight.

To create these characters Eaton draws upon much upon public perception of the public figure. For instance, he said he’s written Mitt Romney as a, “stiff and dull and a rich guy that can’t relate to people.” Once he has established that persona, he throw in a a bit of irony, “We actually have him doing a rap,” Eaton said.

As Mitt Romney works his way towards the White House, the Capitol Steps parody his political style.

He also likes to bring back public figures who have been proven crowd-pleasers. Eaton believes the introduction of a new GOP candidate for V.P. might allow for the much-parodied Sarah Palin to make a reappearance this season. Not that there won’t be  mockery of the blue team as well.

“Well, we make sure we’re equal opportunity offenders. If we go after the left a little bit; we’ll go after the right with our next move,” Eaton said.

Clinton’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention proved a gift to the crew at The Capitol Steps.

“Occasionally, we’ll have the overlapping,” said Eaton, “Clinton might come in and give Barack advice.”

Then, of course, there’s also Biden, who offers a little more material than his front-runner. But over the past five years, they have found it a challenge to make President Barack Obama funny on the stage.

“He’s just not a terribly funny person. He’s always even keeled.”

Though this may be good quality in a leader, it’s not exactly comedic gold. Eaton admits looking back wistfully to the days of the eloquent George W. Bush or sax-swinging, ladies man Bill Clinton.

Luckily, comedy writing reveals the quirks in even the most ordinary of politicians, if there is such an animal. Moreover, as a comedy troupe, they can always pull from their bag of tricks, which includes costumes, funny wigs and parody songs.

However, while satires tent to be thinly-veiled criticisms of pervasive social issues, Eaton said their true intention is to entertain.

“No, there’s no message. Just a lighthearted look at politics.”

And, if after the conventions, you are still undecided on whom to vote for, Eaton offers some advice.

“If in doubt, vote for the funniest candidate. Think of us poor comedians.”

In this 24-hour hyper media world, perhaps that is what we are doing. That would explain why politics are never dull in the old U.S. of A.

A pre-performance discussion will be held 45 minutes prior to the performance in the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery. Prince William Hospital is the 2012-2013 Season sponsor of the Hylton Presents season at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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