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Political satire hits DSM stage

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Everybody, especially college students, can appreciate a good political satire. It can be found in shows such as “Saturday Night Live,” “The Colbert Report” and any late-night talk show. Now, it can be found in musical form.

“Caucus! The Musical (Episode 2012: The GOP Strikes Back)” was written by Robert John Ford, directed by Ron Ziegler and produced by Right Brain Productions. The show was first put on eight years ago and has transitioned from an all-Democratic cast to a mixed cast in 2008 to now being an all-Republican cast because only the Republicans have a contested caucus this year. Since its start in 2004, the show has become increasing popular. The Washington Post called it “the hottest new musical in the country.”

It is the story of a farmer and his family and a group of presidential candidates who are desperately trying to win their endorsements. The farmer and his family are depicted as typical Iowans, described by Ford as “sane, grounded and conscientious characters.”

The candidates, on the other hand, are where the satire comes into play. Each of the four characters who play presidential candidates are based off of real life candidates. Much about the caucus process is learned through their desperate attempts to win the family over as well as the role that Iowa plays in the presidential nomination process and election as a whole.

When Ford was asked how “Caucus! The Musical” is relatable to Drake students and why they should attend, he said that “the humor is very similar to what you would find in ‘The Daily Show’ or ‘The Colbert Report.’”

Ford also talked about how the musical is targeted at a young, politically savvy audience. This surely describes many students at Drake.

Ford explained that it is beneficial for students to attend because many haven’t been involved in the caucus process and may not be familiar with it. This play gives those students an “educational primer” on how the process works, and their roles in it all. First-year Drake student Mackenzie Kirkman said that she is more familiar than most with how the caucus process works because her mother was involved with the caucus in 2008 for President Barack Obama. She said that she will consider seeing the musical.

There is a lot of thought and purpose behind this production, according to Ford.

“One of the statements I try to make is that even though Iowa may not be representative of the country as a whole, we take the task of selecting our political leaders very seriously,” Ford added.

This musical is an amusing and creative way to look at the Iowa caucuses. It provides insight into how the caucus process works and how Iowa plays a large role in the presidential nomination process.

“(The musical is) part educational, part truth and a lot of satire,” Ford said.  “What’s not to love?”

If you are interested in going, the musical will be held at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines from today through Dec. 31. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at (515)-246-2300, or they can be bought at ticketmaster.com. For more information about this production, Right Brain Productions or Ford, go to http://robertjohnford.com/caucus.html

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