Capitol Steps mocks democracy at PCPA on Saturday

Campaign season getting you down? Find some laughs with the Capitol Steps, performing at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, 15498 Espola Road.

This Poway favorite is returning to the PCPA just in time for the election with bipartisan songs, dancing and lots of laughter. 

“We have all the characters,” said Elaina Newport, co-founder of the Capitol Steps. “If you like Donald Trump singing show tunes, Hillary Clinton performing a rock song and a shirtless Vladimir Putin, this is the show for you.”

Newport described the show as very fast-paced with lots of singing, dancing, puns and wordplay.

This has been a time of especially rich material for the Capitol Steps. “This is a great time of year for political satire,” said Newport. The shows put on by the Capitol Steps evolve as new political news is made, and Newport said this year has required a lot of rewrites to keep up.

“When the primaries first started, I think there was something like 17 announced Republican candidates,” said Newport. “We opened our show with the song ’76 Unknowns’.”

Newport said the Capitol Steps originally had songs for all the candidates that they had to say goodbye to as each dropped out. “They were all very funny,” she said.

Luckily, said Newport, America has ended up with “the two funniest candidates.” The show also features, in addition to humorous portrayals of Trump and Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Chris Christie, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, the latter who performs a rap called “Vanilla Nice.”

With new material in the news almost constantly, Newport said they try to stay ahead of the politicians. “You’re never sure which crazy thing will stick in the news,” she said. “Part of what makes it unique this time is that everything is happening so fast. Thanks to Twitter and the news cycle, everyone knows as soon as something happens.”

Newport said it is hard to keep up because things happen so fast but the Capitol Steps tries to stay topical and keep their humor as fresh as possible. Once, said Newport, she even texted a new joke to a performer while he waited to go onstage during a show.

The Capitol Steps began in 1981 as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize their employers at a Christmas party while working for Senator Charles Percy. “Everyone liked it and we kept going because no one made us stop,” said Newport.

The group has a pool of performers, with five performing per show. Each performer takes on multiple roles. “Someone once told me that we have more costume changes than a Cher concert, which I found very flattering,” said Newport.

Tickets for the Capitol Steps range from $22 to $49 and are available by calling 858-748-0505, at the box office or online at

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