CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 16, 2002
Capitol Steps wrap up Hancher season with political song parodies
Capitol Steps, whose political song parodies keep the electorate in stitches
and Washington officials watching their backsides, will wrap up the season
at the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium with a performance at 8 p.m.
Friday, May 3.
Anyone puzzled about the perennial success of the Capitol Steps might consider
this: most comedy groups' material is produced by a small roster of writers.
The Capitol Steps satirical song parodies, on the other hand, derive from
the largest comedy-writing team you could imagine. It includes Congress, the
president, the Supreme Court and just about every other public figure in Washington
-- hence, their claim to be "the only group in Washington that attempts
to be funnier than the Congress."
The result has been an inexhaustible supply of sharp-stick silliness that
has kept audiences entertained for almost two decades through live performances,
radio and TV broadcasts and nearly 20 recordings. The Capitol Steps humor
is so pointed and on-target that former President George Bush commented, "The
Capitol Steps make it easier to leave public life."
No one can predict the bill of fare when the Capitol Steps return to Hancher,
because no one can predict what new scandal may provide fodder for up-to-the-minute
puns and pokes in the ribs. But their recent creations include the inevitable
Enron ditties; "Sharon Again," in response to the chaos in the Middle
East; "Paranoia," a "Battle Hymn of the Republic" parody
on Tom Ridge's color-codes alerts; a Ted Koppel's lament upon ABC's wooing
of David Letterman, "Heard I'm Through at Nightline"; and even a
comment on the American Taliban, "Johnny's No Good."
They are also likely to perform some of the hits from their most recent CD,
"One Bush, Two Bush, Old Bush, New Bush - Songs of 2001."
The Capitol Steps was formed in 1981 when three staffers for Sen. Charles
Percy were asked to provide entertainment for the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee Christmas party. As the legend goes, they first considered staging
a traditional nativity play, but in all of Congress they were unable to find
three wise men or a virgin. So, as a last resort, they decided to write parodies
of popular tunes, using fodder from the headlines of the day.
From the original three members, Capitol Steps has grown to a cast of more
than 20, with six on stage for every performance. All the members have worked
on Capitol Hill -- some for dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, some for staunch Republicans
and most for fence sitters.
So all the performers know the system intimately. As co-founder Elaina Newport
puts it, "Typically the Republicans goof up, and the Democrats party.
Then the Democrats goof up, and the Republicans party. That's what we call
the two-party system."
Tickets for the Capitol Steps are $30, $25 and $20. Hancher Auditorium box
office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free,
1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. People with special needs for access,
seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped
with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through
Hancher's website:< http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher
Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students
may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff
may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may
be requested by e-mail: <email@example.com>.
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit <www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa>.
To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.