Capitol Steps returned to Keene State College for a sold-out show Friday, Sept. 30, for a comedic look into the 2016 presidential election, along with other political figures and moments. The Redfern Arts Center was full of laughter during the two hours Capitol Steps spent impersonating notorious political figures who have been prominent in mainstream media as of late.
Capitol Steps draws an audience of mixed political stand points such as Democrats, Progressives, Republicans and other political viewpoints said Assistant Director of the Redfern Arts Center Sharon Fantl.
Director of the Redfern Arts Center Shannon Mayers said audiences would enjoy a humorous take on this election year since it has been so crazy and tense. Mayers additionally said bringing Capitol Steps to campus can help everyone relax about the intensity and seriousness of the election through humor and comedy.
The clever play on words of Heidi Murkoff’s New York Time’s best-selling book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” the Capitol Steps tour title “What to Expect When You’re Electing” was enough to bring audience member Dave Stone out to the Redfern.
Stone said he enjoyed how the Capitol Steps took real world situations, such as the political debate, and added humor to create a light-hearted twist in political broadcast he watched earlier in the week.
Another audience member from Vermont thought the show was very good and she enjoyed the satirical aspect of the performance. The audience member said the Capitol Steps closing with a song about Canada, and the cast’s hope that the country will take in Americans after the election is said and done, was an enjoyable part of the performance.
The idea of moving to Canada because of politics has become fairly prominent in the media within the last year, but the constant changing in other political scenarios in the real world allows the Capitol Steps to have a wide variety of material.
As Mayers said, “We don’t know what their program order is until they get here because they always see what’s going on during the week and write new skits the night before.”
Brad VanGrack a member of the Capitol Steps for twenty-six years said, “It (writing material) is a bit of a challenge, especially this year when we have to actually try and be funnier than the candidates.”
VanGrack said he enjoys taking on a number of characters and political identities on stage. Though he also said, “Its pretty tough to top the real thing and sometimes you have to come up with really hard rhymes.”
A big difference from previous years performances is Hillary Clinton being the Democratic nominee, as Tracey Stephens, a member of the Capitol Steps for the past sixteen years said, “It’s very different for the last sixteen years; it’s always been a man’s game, so now it’s actually a women’s game and it has been quite interesting to play Hillary Clinton.”
Stephen’s portrayal of Clinton, as well as many others of the five cast member’s impersonations, were welcomed with cheers, laughs and applause upon entering the stage during the performance.
With Election Day fast approaching, voters may need a break from the seriousness of the politics, as Mayers said, “It (the performance) helps give a lighter side to the candidates themselves since the countries is so divided on Hillary and Trump, and they may add some skits about the third party.”
VanGrack and Stephen’s said the best part of being in the Capitol Steps is traveling across the country and allowing audiences to laugh at serious political topics. VanGrack noted that the Capitol Steps have travelled and put on performances in all fifty states.
Fletcher Rice can be contacted at email@example.com