Political satire at its finest

The Capitol Steps

By - Jul 27th, 2010 12:55 pm
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The Capitol Steps played to a full house on Saturday night lighting up the Pabst Theater like the 4th  of July.

But this was no patriotic exercise. It was political satire, the last outpost of truth. The company’s trademark brand of edgy political humor set to music was polished, intelligent and incisive, never deviating from the quality fans have come to expect.

Originating as a band of Senate staffers who set about satirizing the very people and places that employed them, the cast of the Capitol Steps represents 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience.

Health care, bailouts, the environment, the budget, partisan politics, unfaithful politicians, the Tea Party – everything was fair game to this irreverent troupe who descended on Milwaukee offering fresh perspective and in the end,  group catharsis. Twenty-six skits were delivered in rapid-fire succession. Kitschy props and scenery drew as many laughs as the razor-sharp lyrics and dialog.

Proving that a little local humor is always the best ice breaker, the Steps began the night with a visit from the Veep.  Jamie Zemarel ( as Joe Biden) downed scoops of Kopp’s finest while greeting the audience with, “I was asked not to speak to the public, so here I am.”

President Obama, portrayed spot-on by actor Morgan Duncan, offered suggestions for dealing with the oil spill.  The audience shouted its assent when he suggested we plug the leak with BP executives.  Sarah Palin, performed with eerie facility by Tracey Stephens, greeted the audience with a rousing “Hello to the great State of Milwaukee!” then touted her new reality show set to debut on the Discovery Channel.  All were urged to tune in to the program she praised as “all naturey.”

An obvious crowd favorite, Stephens shone again in a piece entitled “Ten Pills Come to Mind” sung to the melody of “The Windmills of Your Mind.”  In this marvelous and very poignant skit a very stoned housewife stumbles onto the stage to share her odyssey with prescription drugs.  She is, in effect, a living, breathing side-effect, the unwitting victim of countless commercials hawking drugs.

The show’s finale featured the talented foursome gathering for, naturally, a Tea Party event.  Hoisting signs scrawled with“Keep the Government Out of My Medicare” and “Youth in Asia. Don’t Kill My Grandma,” the group marched in patriotic step while singing “Glory, Glory Paranoia” to a crowd who couldn’t get enough.

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