Patrick B. McGuigan
The annual Oklahoma City Gridiron roast of politics, culture and celebrity culture returns February 22-25 to the Lyric Theatre at the Plaza, with a rousing show titled, “Washington is Cookin’ Our Goose or How Many Nuts are in an Occu-Pie?”
The Gridiron script annually incorporates a more-or-less accurate distillation of the previous year's national, state and local politics – so here's a hint: There just might be a reference to a certain now-notorious email from the Department of Insurance.
On the “broad” stage of national events, one Gridiron gal “channels” Dolly Parton with a yodel or two, that opening song won't make you blue.
In a tribute to “Hee-Haw,” parodies of Roy Clark and Buck Owens take the stage pickin' and grinnin' as they sing: “Herman Cain went far, but no cigar, it's so bizarre.” Bill Clinton could relate, for sure. He said Cain's only problem was he was an amateur.
Republicans had a crowded field, the hopefuls' conservatism was both challenge and shield. After a few weeks, there were only four. Some thought the ones left, were politically poor.
Not everyone was enthralled with the Wall Street occupiers, President Obama and his wife made their case to become re-hires.
Trying hard to stay in the limelight was Nancy Pelosi, why does she remind some folks of Bela Legosi?
In matters of State, Fallin does not escape Gridiron scrutiny, but she'll probably avoid a Republican mutiny.
More troubling than politics, was a lack of rain. For agriculture and critters, lack of rain was a pain.
It's not always a lack of rain that fills our state with dread; in the burgeoning water wars, it's a matter of shed, shed, who's got the watershed. Jim Coach and Chief Pyle sing a silly duet, fightin' over who gets to put liquid in a selected cruet.
Ladies from Edmond want what's best for us health endurance; why are folks in Nichols Hills searching for quake-a-nado insurance? Boren and Hargis tout football's assurance, with Weedon gone and Jones back, we'll see whose team has the best endurance.
Debbe Leftwich and Randy Terrill return to the Gridiron story, the result of their trial still a source of worry (it's a stretch, but make it rhyme).
Gridiron and Fallin sing, looking back at the year: “Bone dry, record high, nice try, occupy, still politics to me.”
A plethora of active or retired journalists and their associates are in the cast, including the Eggman, Jackie Short, Cindy Reich, Kianoosh Moeni, Megan Moeini, Bart Vleugels, Cynthia Rozmaryn, Andrew Harris, Kim Mizar-Stem, Michael Cross, Jim Palmer, Billie Rodely, John Greiner, Jon Denton, Erin Boeckman, Bob Hale, Sue Hale, Darrell Morrow, Joe Mays, Judy Murphy, Dana Meister, Sue Perry, Bill Perry, Ellie Sutter, Barry Jon, Robert Burch, Carol Cole-Frowe and this writer.
Larry Pierce returns as director of the renowned Gridiron Band.
The sometimes edgy humor of Gridiron emerges from the tradition of vigorous and fearless news reporting in America, affirmed in this reflection by the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson: “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”
Elsewhere in his voluminous writings, the third president of the United States expressed himself this way: “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
Performances are set for the evenings of Wednesday, February 22, Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25 at the Lyric Theatre at the Plaza, 1727 NW 16 in MidTown Oklahoma City.
For seats (all with good viewing lines, and priced $30 plus a service charge), visit TicketStorm.com to purchase online NOW.
All proceeds from Gridiron performances benefit scholarships for Oklahomans preparing for careers in print, broadcast or online journalism.