Oklahoma City Gridiron Club prepares to look back ... and laugh
The scripts change, but the laughs and the purpose for which they are drawn have remained constant for decades.
Going back to 1928, except for a few years during World War II, the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club has annually paused all the excitement about the New Year to look at headlines of the previous year.
That tradition adds another double-title chapter with “Driving Blind With Earplugs,” or “Enquiring Minds Don’t Want To Know,” as the 2014 Gridiron show is scheduled for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the Lyric’s Plaza Theatre, 1727 NW 16.
The dosage of parody is strong from the onset as cast members representing citizens — on crutches, arm in a sling, head bandaged — take to the stage in the federal scene. From amid them emerges one citizen who leads the singing of “Health Care Dot Gov” to the tune of “Who Do You Love?” Jumping in to join the citizens on the chorus are cast members portraying Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, as they sing “They sent me a letter — now I’m done, My old insurance, is now long gone.”
President Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, the National Security Agency and the Tea Party are among those panned in the federal portion of the production.
As for topics, once past the issue of health care, the show picks up on the subject of drones.
To “Send in the Clowns,” the agents sing, “Up in the sky, There in mid-air, We know the color and style of your underwear, We sent in the drones.”
After going international via a jab at Russian President Vladimir Putin with “Putin’s got the glitz” to the sounds of “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” the show makes its way to New Jersey to pan Gov. Chris Christie. He sings, “I am Christie, hear me roar, All the way to the Jersey shore, I’m the boss of whaddaya call the Garden State,” to the tune “I Am Woman.”
The Gridiron Club raises money for Oklahoma journalism students.
The show’s cast consists of members and former members of the media, as well as their family and friends.
Since 1928, the Oklahoma City Gridiron Foundation has awarded about $500,000 to students attending colleges and universities in Oklahoma. Scholarship applicants must be pursuing a degree in a journalism or communications-related field. Each year, foundation committee members decide on scholarship winners.
In 2013, scholarship winners shared a total of $10,400 from the foundation.
Back on the stage
Appearing again in a Gridiron performance is Gridnac the Magnificent. He draws a sealed envelope and the holds it to his forehead. Gridnac then answers the question sealed inside the envelope.
“You can’t take it with you,” he said of the answer, and then gave the question. “Recite rule No. 1 at the Golden Corral.”
Following intermission and Gridnac, the state and local scene includes the full cast singing, “Red Earth oh Red Earth why do you shake? Sometimes it’s hard to bake, a cake. My dishes all rattle. All my dogs run and hide, to get away from the quake.”
Political pans in Act Two include not only local figures in the Oklahoma City mayor’s race, but also the governor’s race.
Then it’s on to weather.
But for a minute humor gives way to a show of respect as a cast member portrays Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis: “Our folks are brave in the face of tragedy and deaths, we help each other. Our city has been hard hit more than once, but we stay. We get up and hug our sisters and our brothers.”
Weather is of course followed by sports, specifically football.
Then it’s back to taking shots at some of the hot 2013 news topics, such as ammo sales and the A-F school district report cards.
As the end of the production draws near, Gov. Fallin’s “State of the State” includes the lines:
“T.W. is gone, but Jeff took his place in a friendly race, Let’s pass a bond and restore this old Capitol’s structure — and face!”
IF YOU GO
What: 2014 Oklahoma City Gridiron Show
Title: “Driving Blind With Earplugs,” or “Enquiring Minds Don’t Want to Know.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Where: Lyric Theatre at the Plaza, 1727 NW 16.
Ticket information: Go to www.okcgridiron.org/tickets. For phone orders, call TicketStorm at (866) 966-1777. For group ticket sales (10 or more people), call 830-5964.