Capitol Steps take on Trump during new show

October 2, 2018

Donald Trump and Donald Jr. in Capitol Steps (Photos by Violet Crown Photo Works)

Actor Mike Thornton has played every president since Ronald Reagan and now he is taking on Donald Trump.

“He’s been done so much. Maybe more than any other president,” Thornton said during a phone interview last week. “I have so much to work with.”

Thornton plays Trump during political satire troupe Capitol Steps’ latest show, “Make American Grin Again.” The touring show plays Carolina Theatre of Durham Saturday.

The show, based on the group’s new album, features a cast of characters including Don Jr., Jeff Sessions, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Stormy Daniels and more.

“We try to be equal opportunity offenders,” Thornton said. “Whoever is in office is who we focus on. We have a lot to work with.”

For those who haven’t seen Capitol Steps, the show takes a vaudevillian approach to politics with a lot of song parody. There are only five actors embodying 10 to 20 characters on stage throughout the show. Actors are swapping out roles quickly, while a pianist keeps the music going.

“We are giving a taste of each of these characters,” Thornton said.

For Thornton that means donning a wig for his Trump impersonation and singing songs like “God Bless America.”

Thornton said audiences on both sides of the aisle have been enjoying the light-hearted approach to politics the show offers.

“The response has been amazing,” Thornton said, noting he had audiences say it was the “best they have felt in months” and that the show was “cheaper than therapy.”

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