After winning national acclaim four years ago, an updated version of “Caucus! The Musical” will open in central Iowa this week. Playwright and producer Robert John Ford, of Des Moines, says the show debuted in January of 2008 and it seemed natural to make a few changes based on the current political crop and bring the show back to the stage.
Ford says the musical is a comedic look at how an array of candidates will do anything to win the votes of a “typical” Iowa farm family. Laughing, he says it’s an equal opportunity offender. “We certainly hit both parties pretty equally,” Ford says. “This year, there’s probably a bit more focus on the Republicans because the Republican candidates are here in the state more than the Democratic incumbent, but the play basically is pointing out the absurdities of both parties and the good aspects of both parties as well.”
This incarnation of the show features four Republican candidates, but he says none of them represent any of the individuals currently in the race for the White House. Ford says many people initially thought he was crazy to try and create a musical out of the story of the Iowa Caucuses.
“It really plays well to the form of a musical theatre because in many ways, politics is theatre and there’s a certain song and dance involved,” Ford says. “We focus on the fact that there’s a lot of dancing around the issues, there’s a lot of singing at times when people need to be speaking and it really plays well to the musical theatre form.” The show was taken on the road in 2008 with well-received performances in New Hampshire.
Ford hopes to take the 2012 version beyond Iowa’s borders, too, perhaps to South Carolina, Florida, Minnesota and elsewhere. “It definitely could play in other states,” Ford says. “It gives a glimpse of just what the process is and for those states that are early in the process, they will recognize the circus-like atmosphere that surrounds the caucuses.”
The show will run December 8th through the 31st at the Stoner Theater in the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. For more information, visit: www.robertjohnford.com, or for tickets, visit: http://www.civiccenter.org