The Capitol Steps
The Steps get it too; they get political satire better than anyone. Formed in 1981, when three Senate staffers came up with some songs and skits for a holiday office party, the Steps have gone on to record thirty-one albums, have appeared frequently on TV and National Public Radio, and have performed at the White House for every president since Reagan.
I first saw the Steps in the late eighties, in a small club in Washington D.C., and then again last July at the Power Center. Of course, their material was completely different each time (there's never, it seems, a shortage of current politics and politicians to lampoon, lambaste, skewer, and roast), but the format of the show has--fortunately--not changed. The Steps have adhered strictly to an "if it works, don't fix it" philosophy. Rather than puffing up their act with big showy gimmicks, they've kept their focus squarely where it belongs, on fiendishly clever, masterfully crafted comic lyrics, matched with the melodies of perfectly chosen familiar songs. With just piano accompaniment, a handful of minimalist props, some costume changes, and terrific impersonations of figures in the news, the Steps fashion an uproariously entertaining show.