Arts and Culture | Local

Capitol Steps will skewer both sides of aisle at Hillel benefit

When the performers of the Capitol Steps take the stage at the Fox Tucson Theater, there’s a good chance Barack Obama will sing a rock song, Joe Biden will sing a show tune and Chris Christie will dance.

Even Vladimir Putin, shirtless, of course, cannot stay off the stage. He sings “Putin on the Blitz” to the tune of “Putting on the Ritz.” See this spectacle and more when the curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27. Proceeds benefit the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation.

The troupe is coming loaded for bear. Co-founder Elaina Newport says there is plenty of material to be mined from this year’s election season.

“This is the funniest primary season that we have ever had and we’ve been around for 35 years now,” Newport says. “Right now we have 12 Republican candidates and we’ve got a song about every one of them, except for maybe a guy by the name of Gilmore, but we cover that because we start the show with a song called, ‘76 Unknowns,’ to [the tune of] ‘76 Trombones.’”

Lest audience members feel their candidate is being picked on too much, they only have to wait a few minutes. Someone else will soon be on the hot seat.

“We will take anything in the headlines and I would emphasize we get both sides of the aisle,” Newton says. “We are equal opportunity offenders.”

For a Capitol Steps show a troupe of five stages about 30 skits and this keeps the actors moving.

“The woman who is playing Hillary (Clinton) has to play Nancy Pelosi and Angela Merkel and change her wigs and change her outfits and her accents,” Newport says. “We were once told we have more costume changes than a Cher concert.”

The Capitol Steps have been performing since December of 1981, when the founders were staffers for Sen. Charles Percy and created satire for a Christmas show. Since then they have recorded more than 30 albums and been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS. They can also be heard twice a year on National Public Radio stations during their “Politics Takes a Holiday” radio specials.

Not all politicians are funny, however.

“Barack Obama, when he first came in he wasn’t super funny,” Newport says. “But he got funnier because he started getting entangled in all these issues like Obamacare and the National Security Agency scandal, so we have a lot of Obama in the show.”

Even old “friends” will make an appearance. “We love Hillary because it gave us a chance to bring back Bill,” Newport says. “We love Jeb because it gave us a chance to bring back George, so we could actually reuse our signs from 1992 if it’s Hillary versus Bush. If it’s Clinton-Bush, we’ve already got all the props.”

General admission tickets are $40 and $55, and are available at the Fox Tucson Theater, 547-3040, or Donor package opportunities are available through UA Hillel at 624-6561.