Think You Can Write Parodies Better Than Capitol Steps? Go Ahead!

News   Think You Can Write Parodies Better Than Capitol Steps? Go Ahead! Here's a challenge thrown out by the Capitol Steps musical-satirical troupe: write your own song parody poking fun at political figures or political issues, and the company just may add it to their New York show.

Here's a challenge thrown out by the Capitol Steps musical-satirical troupe: write your own song parody poking fun at political figures or political issues, and the company just may add it to their New York show.

Contest entries will be judged by various members of the theatre media. Winners will get four complimentary tickets to the Steps' current Off-Broadway show, Unzippin' My Doo `Dah.

Entrants can either audition in person (pianist provided) Aug. 13, 4:15 PM at the John Houseman Theatre, or send a lyric sheet and tape to the theatre, 450 West 42nd Street, #2B, New York, NY 10036. All entries must be received by Aug. 13.

Capitol Steps was created 17 years ago by former congressional staff members. The troupe finally reached Off-Broadway Feb. 5, 1997 and, though scheduled to close March 23, 1997, extended through June of that year, due to "strong audience demand and critical reception."

Now the troupe has "Stepped" back into the John Houseman Theatre, July 9-Sept. 5, following the recent close there of Never The Sinner. The new edition, which officially opened July 15, pokes fun at President Clinton's personal woes, among other political targets. There are now more than 20 members of "Capitol Steps," with five performing at one time while the others are in rotation. Company members include founding members Bill Strauss and Elaina Newport (aides for Republican Senator Charles Percy), Ann Schmitt (for Republican Senator William Roth), Jamie Zemarel (for Republican Congressman, Harris Fawell), Barie Biern (for Democrat Henry Waxman), and Mike Tilford of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The comedy troupe formed when Strauss and Newport were asked to entertain at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Christmas party. "Unable to find three wise men or a virgin for a nativity play, they decided to dig into the week's headlines and hot topics... Since then, they've been performing in Washington and around the country, satirizing the people...that once employed them." Their output includes 16 records, four released during the Clinton administration. Recent recordings include "Return To Center," "The Joy Of Sax," "A Whole Newt World," and "76 Bad Loans." Song parodies include "Return To Center (Viewpoint Unknown)" directed at President Clinton, and "Yasser, That's My Bibi," a duet for Yasser Arafat and Bibi Netanyahu. New material includes a Dylanesque ode to yuppiedom and an anti-nuclear ditty, "Pakistani Bang-Bang."

An evening of musical comedy, Capitol Steps will change nightly to keep up with the news. For tickets and information call Tele-Charge at (212) 239-6200.

-- By David Lefkowitz

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