Maybe New York is ready for “Assassins” after all. But forget about presidential killers of a century ago. In “When Bush Comes to Shove,” the new show from the political satire troupe Capitol Steps, a curly-haired girl sings the ode “Osama Come Out” to the tune of “Tomorrow” from “Annie.” Then there’s “Shoe Bomb” to that old Crew Cuts standard “Sh-boom.” Yes, I think I’m ready for a singing John Wilkes Booth.
The Capitol Steps audience broke into paroxysms of laughter at the spectacle of Arafat and Sharon as quarreling lovers in the Neil Diamond song “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” I, too, laughed out loud when a nun was strip-searched at an airport in the number “Pack the Knife” (“Mack the Knife”) while Darth Vader was allowed quick passage.
But is it my imagination or is Capitol Steps stuck in a repertoire of tunes seldom heard outside of wedding receptions or piano bars? The 1977 “Saturday Night Fever” hit “Stayin’ Alive,” which becomes “Strom (Thurmond) Alive,” is one of the more contempo songs of this bunch. Elsewhere we get Hillary Clinton and Liddy Dole’s lament “If I Weren’t a Woman” (“If I Were a Rich Man,” from “Fiddler on the Roof”), the baseball fan’s “When You’re a Met” (“The Jets,” from “West Side Story”) and the ecology rant “Mine Every Mountain” (“Climb Every Mountain,” from “The Sound of Music”).
Just as only Abba fans can fully appreciate the rigors of fitting hit song to story in “Mamma Mia!,” you just might have to be over 50 to get “When Bush Comes to Shove.”
More than just Middle East terrorists get the Hit Parade treatment. Tracey Stephens’ Laura Bush and Mike Tilford’s Bill Clinton are ready for primetime. However, Jamie Zemarel’s take on the man of the title, George W., bares almost no resemblance to the original.