Satire Troupe to Perform

The Capitol Steps to Appear at Sanders Tonight

A musical political satire troupe of current and former Congressional staffers is scheduled to perform tonight in Sanders Theater to benefit the Cambridge Arts Council, council officials said yesterday.

Featuring songs like "We Arm the World," "Thank God I'm a Contra Boy," and an ode to Eastern Airlines, "Help me make it through the flight," Capitol Steps plans to perform for 90 minutes at Sanders, a troupe spokesperson said.

Formed in 1981, The Capitol Steps include "sixteen of 17.5 million jobs created by the Reagan Administration," according to Elaina Newport, co-founder and press agent of the group.

"In 1981, Ronald Reagan proved that an actor could be a politician. So we decided that politicians can be actors," said William A. Strauss '69, co-founder of the troupe.

"We've performed for most of the Senate, Ed Messe, Robert McFarlane and Pat Robertson," she said. "This September we performed at a White House barbecue. Afterwards, the President said, "Well, thank you very much. Now you're all arrested.'"


Reagan then pardoned every single member of the troupe, Newport said.

The Capitol Steps' humor is nonpartisan. "Our staffers are from both sides of the aisle. One guy swears that he's a Bull Moose," Newport said.

Jim V. Aidala, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology on leave from Harvard and co-founder of The Capitol Steps, calls the troupe "the third-longest-running party in Washington. We hope everyone votes for the funniest presidential ticket on Tuesday," Aidala said. "It'll help business."

The troupe has recently concentrated on material from the presidential campaign. Set to the tune of the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited," a Capitol Steps act pokes fun at Gov. Michael S. Dukakis: "I'm not exciting/I'm not exciting/But I'm not indicted."

Neither is Vice President George Bush spared the group's antics. To the tune of "Cat and the Cradle," they sing, "I wanna be just like you, Ron, you know I'll be just like you."

"We believe in practicing safe satire," Aidala said. "Safe satire is a big issue for men and women of the '80s."

Following tonight's Sanders appearance, The Capitol Steps will perform at a black-tie benefit for the Cambridge Arts Council at the Charles Hotel, said Annabelle Hebert, the council's executive director. She said the two-show evening represents the council's biggest fundraiser event in its 14-year history.

The Cambridge Arts Council is the official cultural agency of the city of Cambridge, Hebert said, which has sponsored numerous projects including a neighborhood public art program and the MBTA "Arts on the Line" program integrating fine art and subway stations.