Who would have guessed that just 10 years after first bursting onto Tennessee's political scene, State Sen. Stacey Campfield would inspire an original musical parody: Music City Theatre Company's brassy "Casey Stampfield: The Musical."
Then again, when you consider some of the controversial Republican's antics, you may be wondering why it took so long.
Created by Michael McFaden, Mark Beall and Bradley Moore, "Casey Stampfield" is an entertaining musical lampoon of East Tennessee's most talked-about politician, who was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2004 and to the State Senate in 2010. Written in the style of old vaudeville, "Stampfield" leads the audience through just a few of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your point of view) from the senator's career. And though the humor is spot on, there's an unmistakable cringe factor as "Stampfield" reminds us why Tennessee so often ends up being used as a punchline on late-night television.
Chad Webb is hilarious in the title role, mugging it almost as shamelessly as the man who inspired this cheeky romp. Whether kicking up his heels to "Carrot Top" (a snappy parody of "Rocky Top") or showing off his penchant for public spectacle ("Kicked Out"), Webb's Stampfield works the crowd for plenty of laughs.
Webb receives enthusiastic support from Steve Mogck, Sarah Shepherd, Memory Strong and Daniel Vincent — a comical quartet of constituents, who provide a steady patter of songs, dance and caustic zingers. Vincent's delivery of "Don't Say Gay" is especially sharp. And Strong brings the house down with "The Dumbest Man of All" (a delicious twist on Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All"). And Rodney McCasland deserves special mention for his stylish accompaniment.
In between the songs, the actors run through some of the more controversial legislation that Campfield has introduced over the years — including the infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill and a proposal to reduce welfare benefits for families with children who fail to meet specific academic requirements.
Such legislation is just the sort of thing that screams out for satire. But it's a tough balance. After all, we don't want the factual elements to slow down the show's lively pace. It's a fairly minor concern, however — particularly since the show runs just about an hour with no intermission.
"Casey Stampfield" provides steady laughs and plenty of sharp commentary. And who knows? If the good people of Tennessee's 7th District reelect Sen. Campfield in November, we could be looking at "Casey Stampfield: The Sequel."
If you go:
What: Music City Theatre Company presents "Casey Stampfield: The Musical"
When: Through July 12. Performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. (No performance on July 4; and a special performance is set for Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m.)
Where: Vibe Entertainment Complex, 1713 Church St., Nashville
Tickets: $9.99 (available at the door, or in advance by visiting mctc.ticketleap.com)
Contact: 615-239-3565; or facebook.com/musiccitytheatrecompany