When sense and sanity step out, political comedy group The Capitol Steps step in


LENOX — 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Senate and House, a few Senate staffers decided to shake things up.

The year was 1981, Ronald Reagan was president, and, according to this group of amused staffers, they "figured that if entertainers could become politicians, then politicians could become entertainers!"

So, at a Senate office Christmas party in 1981, when the staffers' attempts to stage a nativity play failed because "in the whole Congress they couldn't find three wise men or a virgin," they instead decided to "put the 'mock' in democracy," satirizing the very people who employed them.

Thirty-four years and 30 recorded albums later, congressional staffers turned musical comedy group The Capitol Steps are still impersonating, parodying and lampooning those on the Hill, in the Supreme Court and the White House, and those eagerly trying to get there. The Washington, D.C.-based group has performed off-Broadway, before congressional, TV, Radio, and university audiences, and for the last five U.S. presidents.

This summer through Aug. 31 at the Cranwell Resort and Spa in Lenox, the talented company of The Capitol Steps — which consists of five actors and impersonators and one pianist who plays live musical accompaniment — perform riotous, lively and contemporary shows that are constantly updated with new material straight from recent headlines across the country and globe.

The nightly shows at 8 (except Tuesdays) tackle many hot issues of the day, as well as many contentious and celebrated public figures — from Republican and Democratic candidates in the 2016 presidential race, to both past and present presidents, Supreme Court justices, and congressmen.

No one is safe from the sharp satire and hilarious scrutiny in The Capitol Steps' show, as they humorously identify and sing along to the ironies and idiosyncracies of Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, John Kerry, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, the pope, and mainstream media and news anchors.

In the show, the refrain from Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" is sung by a snarling Dick Cheney telling those on the Senate Intelligence Committee to "lie-lie-lie!" after the CIA report on the usage of enhanced interrogation techniques surfaced.

"Greece: The Musical!," parodying "Grease," recounts the trials and tribulations not of rebellious high school students, but of the negotiations surrounding Greek's economic bailout. Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachman chant, "We are the hard-crazed right" to the tune of the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night."

Obama tries to solve Russia's annexation of Crimea by taking a selfie with Putin in the number "Putin on the Blitz." And a befuddled and ridiculed Rick Perry appropriates Kermit the Frog's iconic tune "The Rainbow Connection" from "The Muppet Movie" as he searches for articulateness, intelligibility, and respect in "The Brain-Mouth Connection."

Aside from their live performances, The Capitol Steps' three latest albums, "Fiscal Shades of Gray," "How to Succeed in Congress Without Really Lying," and "Mock the Vote," boast hilarious and clever tracks across a wide range of genres — classic rock, blues, pop, hip-hop, and show-tunes.

Pre-show dining, as well as post-show dessert and drinks, are available at the Cranwell's fine-dining establishments, the Wyndhurst and Sloane's Tavern. Tickets are available online at cranwell.com or through the box office at 413-881-1636.


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