The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Winner-take-all
June 23, 2024

Capitol Steps musical comedy troupe to perform in Rudder

The+Capitol+Steps+traveling+musical+comedy+group+performs+the+mock+Election+2016.
Photo by Provided

The Capitol Steps traveling musical comedy group performs the mock Election 2016.

In 1981, a group of Senate staffers planned a show for their annual Christmas party. Their musical comedy making fun of politicians on both sides of the aisle was a hit, and eventually transformed into the touring production known as The Capitol Steps.
Thirty-seven years and 35 albums later, The Capitol Steps continues as a successful traveling musical group. The cast is constantly rewriting material to fit the politics of the day, and their show has been performed for six U.S. presidents. The Capitol Steps will perform to a sold out crowd at Rudder Theatre on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Elaina Newport, a founding member of the group and a graduate of the University of Maryland, was hired for an entry-level job with Illinois Senator Charles Percy on Capitol Hill in 1981.
“I was there at the very beginning,” Newport said. “We have an odd story. … We decided to just entertain, we did some songs and skits and thought ‘Okay, that’ll be it. We’ll stop doing it now. Somebody will fire us, tell us to stop, or both.’ And nobody did.”
According to Newport, four years after their first show, the troupe received a paying offer to perform at a law firm dinner and soon started performing at other banquets and dinners.
“The first few years that we were around, we were so afraid of losing our jobs for doing this we didn’t do a lot of touring,” Newport. “Then we got bolder a few years later and now at this point we’ve been to every state.”
Newport said she stays busy, though her role in the group has changed over the years.
“I don’t perform as much anymore,” Newport said. “I’ve been concentrating more on the writing in recent years. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of work. … The writing has been really more of a full-time job than ever.”
Since the show revolves around contemporary politics, the fast news cycle of today makes writing songs difficult, Newport said.
“One day we think the big story is Trump’s tweet about pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord,” Newport said. “Then the next day nobody even remembers that, and you move on to the next ‘Oh, nuclear war with North Korea, okay.’”
Political science junior Shianne McPherson said she looks forward to seeing the group perform at A&M.
“I am passionate about politics,” McPherson said. “It’s always good to see two political sides come together and forget their differences for a good laugh.”
Each show parodies political figures from both sides of the aisle, including Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
“People will come to our show and they’ll say, ‘I’ve been fighting with my friends on Facebook or I’ve had an argument with my family at the dinner table and I came to your show and I laughed and I feel better,’” Newport said. “That’s one of the best things we can hear.”
Mark Eaton is a co-writer for the show who began working with the team in 1993.
“We aren’t trying to be outrageous or blaspheme anybody,” Eaton said in an interview with In The Spotlight. “We are trying to be equal opportunity offenders who go after both sides of the aisle in an attempt to make people laugh. If we don’t laugh at some of this stuff, we will certainly cry about it.”
The Capitol Steps is a three-time winner of the Washington City Paper’s annual reader’s choice poll for Best place to take an Out-of-Towner and a four-time winner in the Wammie Awards of the Washington Area Music Association.
“If you’ve ever wanted to see Donald Trump sing a rock song, Bernie Sanders sing a show tune and Vladimir Putin dance shirtless, this is the show for you,” Newport said.

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