- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2007

Jenny and Kevin Corbett aren’t very different from many other people in Washington, devoted to jobs that revolve around the federal government.

They follow what President Bush is doing, what candidates are promising and how Congress is voting.

And, like many people in Washington, they poke fun when things go awry. But the Corbetts do it onstage — to song and dance.

The Silver Spring couple is part of the Capitol Steps, a singing troupe with a unique form of political satire that performs at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center every Friday and Saturday, as well as on the road.

The two-hour shows consist of monologues and songs. Performers portray Mr. Bush in “Brain-Mouth Connection” (to the tune of “Rainbow Connection”) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea” (to the tune of the song from “The Sound of Music”). Other characters are four Supreme Court justices performing the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican, singing “Tap Three Times” (to the tune of “Knock Three Times” by Tony Orlando and Dawn).

The Corbetts perform in three or four shows per week. Mr. Corbett often portrays Mr. Bush and former President Bill Clinton. Mrs. Corbett plays Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, as well as astronaut Lisa Nowak and Public Broadcasting Service news anchor Jim Lehrer.

The cast rehearses for about an hour before each performance, reviewing any new material and figuring out the order of the show that night.

For most of the Capitol Steps, this is a full-time job. About 25 cast members rotate among performances. Mr. and Mrs. Corbett also have part-time jobs teaching acting and children’s yoga, respectively.

“As far as full-time jobs go, it’s not too shabby,” said Mrs. Corbett, who met her husband while they were working together with Capitol Steps.

The Corbetts married April 1, so many of their co-workers thought the April Fools’ Day wedding “was the biggest practical joke ever,” Mrs. Corbett said.

Both husband and wife have been acting most of their lives. She grew up staging backyard plays with her siblings. He tried to imitate the voices of Looney Tunes characters and G.I. Joe.

“Doing G.I. Joe voices grew into a career for me,” Mr. Corbett said.

On a good day, they say, audience members are captivated by the performance and can laugh at their elected officials. On a bad day, the audience is uptight.

“It’s awful when an audience comes to see a political-satire show and doesn’t have a sense of humor,” said Mr. Corbett, who joined the Steps in 2000, three years before Mrs. Corbett joined.

The Corbetts say they stuck with the show all these years because the material is constantly changing, based on news of the day. The performers sometimes learn new lines a day or two before the show.

“During an election year we might have new material at every performance,” Mrs. Corbett said.

Mr. Craig’s guilty plea for his conduct in a Minneapolis airport and O.J. Simpson’s arrest in Las Vegas for armed robbery have helped give the show’s writers plenty of new material.

“I’m amazed at how people make a fool of themselves,” Mr. Corbett said. “It’s like Christmas and Hanukkah in one August day.”

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