Caucus, the Musical, Set to Open in Des Moines
DES MOINES -- Leave it to local actors here -- many with full-time jobs and most of whom are fixtures of the city's relatively small but thriving theater scene -- to stage the theatrico-political marvel of the season.
This week, the hottest new musical in the country is in cold, wintry Des Moines.
With songs such as the Cole Porter-tinged "Anything For A Vote," the melodic and witty "It's Time To Go To Iowa," and the tap dance number "The Tough Question Sidestep," last night's first preview of "Caucus! The Musical" drew raves from an almost full house.
It was a tough audience, too: caucusgoers who think caucusing is not exactly something to sing, dance and tap about. Written by Robert John Ford and staged at the State Historical Museum Theatre in this city's hip East Village neighborhood, the musical is a satirical but also celebratory look at what some consider an obscure, incomprehensible, unnecessary quadrennial exercise in electoral politics: the Iowa caucuses.
Never mind Hillary Clinton v. Barack Obama or Mike Huckabee v. Mitt Romney, the leading contenders in state polls in their respective parties less than a week before the Jan. 3 caucuses. On the stage at the Museum Theater, the fictional "Caucus!" has Nora Halliday, a black woman, and Benjamin Goldman, a gay Jew, duking it out on the left, and Rev. Stanley Jensen, a Christian conservative, and Sen. Harrison Tate, a moderate Republican, fighting on the right. They're all after one thing -- wooing the so-called "typical" Iowa caucusgoer.
"The whole caucusing process -- the candidates who roll into the state every four years and bring their aides and the press with them, the frustrated Iowans who are all trying to make sense of the race, the rest of the country who's watching about it from afar -- it all just screams out for a staged musical," Ford, a native Iowan, told The Trail before curtain call last night.
And the audience was ecstatic.
"It's hilarious! I mean, it gets everything right and doesn't miss a thing," Sara Krouch, 60, told The Trail after the two-hour musical. She's still undecided and jokingly calls herself "a bisexual voter," a term used by one of the characters to describe independents. "I'm torn between Rudy Giuliani and Barack Obama. I just think Rudy's a good leader. I respect the man. But Barack is a fresh face with a different mind-set. And he's a mid-westerner like me."
"Caucus!" holds its second preview tonight and official opens Saturday. Check out
this sitefor tickets and dates.
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