Capitol Steps: Orange is the New Barack.Sketches and lyrics by Elaina Newport, Mark Eaton and the cast.
One company of Capitol Steps performers
"The orange didn't fall far from the tree."
Mike Thornton (l) and others; photo provided
They can make you laugh and they will make you laugh in spite of your private political priorities. They are the Capitol Steps; they do global political parody; they are talented and funny. As the world progresses from one huge mess to another these folks give us the silliness of politics, the outrageous behavior of all our Washington, DC favorites and they also love to cast the light of bellylaughter on the world situations.
Capitol Steps folks must be difficult to live with if they take their senses of humor home with them. Each year for the past decade six players have trouped up to The Berkshires, moved in to spaces at Cranwell Resort and entertained us for the summer. Starting off this season two of their usual suspects are back: Mike Thornton and Jack Rowles. My personal favorite, Bari Bierns is due to show up later in the season.
Thornton has taken on Donald Trump with a puckered face and crimped small hands and has made him even funnier than he appears to be on television (either the real one or as portrayed in the able if small hands of Alec Baldwin). Thornton also reminds us of the "glory days" of Bill Clinton and a host of other familiar faces and voices. He also caps the show with his rendition of "Lirty Dies" the babble-speak edition of history where the first letters of words are exchanged with the first letters of other words to make up pointed, pertinent comments (or cointed, curtin and promments). Each season's monologue gives us many of the same things but since history marches on, so does the monologue. This annual presentation is not only a show stopper, but is also - genuinely - a take-home tune as you can walk away with a copy of the monologue to memorize and perform yourself - I dare you!
Trump and Clinton; photo provided
But Presidents aren't all the stuff of comedy. Supreme Court Justices, Senators, former White House officials, foreign potentates, religious figures, all are fodder for the mill-wheels of Capitol Steps. Cabinet members figure into this year's show. Medical workers and their impatient patients make an appearance. Jack Rowles, as usual, plays Bernie Sanders even better than Sanders does. The sovereign state of Vermont should hire him in the off-season so that the Independent member can show up at two places at once as, I suppose, Sanders has always wanted to do.
For the moment Morgan Duncan plays Obama, the least successful man to take on that role in recent memory. He redeems himself in a host of other characters. Tracey Stephens brings the same direct hits to both Hilary Clinton and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She sings well, too. Nancy Dolliver delivers Angela Merkel and a host of other lunatic roles with verve and vigor.
This is a ninety minute, non-stop romp through the world of inanity and government, two words you will have difficulty separating after you see this show. And you'll learn things you really need to know now about the future, for example, Hillary supports Chelsea's bid for the white house in 2020. Like your vision, keep an eye on this one.
This company has enough energy to power Lenox, so go prepared to collapse by the end of the show - you will have laughed that hard and that much for that long. Having Capitol Steps back in the neighborhood is proof enough for me that no political administration can rule my world.
Capitol Steps: Orange is the New Barack plays nightly (except Tuesdays) at Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort on Route 20 in Lenox, MA through September 1. For tickets and information call the box office at 413-881-1636 or go on line at cranwell.com.