Show delivers laughter and “damn good Gridiron”

One of the most popular comedic reviews in Oklahoma returns with brand new scripts and performances at Oklahoma City’s Stage Center this Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Larry Craig, the Idaho U.S. Senator arrested for solicitation in an infamous airport incident last year, has had a rough few months. The Oklahoma City Gridiron Club aims its satirical arrows at him and other public figures in this year’s rousing performance of “Sure, You Want My Vote Now, But will You Still Respect Me in the Morning?”

The show is thoroughly bipartisan in targeting: Lance Cargill, Brad Henry and Gene Stipe get their share of outrageous fortune, along with presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain. Even the Nobel Peace Prize winner is not exempt from Gridiron satire: former Vice President Al Gore gets skewered pretty good in this year’s show.

Since 1928, Oklahoma City journalists and their associates have performed in the annual “Gridiron” – a broad roast of national, state and local politics, politicians and culture. For the last two decades, proceeds from the show have gone to the Oklahoma City Gridiron Foundation, which disburses scholarships to Oklahomans preparing for careers in journalism.

By long-standing tradition, most of the dialogue for the parody is written in rhyme. Gridiron has three performances this year, on Wed., Feb. 20, Fri., Feb. 22 and Sat., Feb. 23. Gov. Brad Henry is scheduled to attend the Wednesday performance with his wife, Kim. Although they are annual “victims” of the show’s biting dialogue, the Henrys have faithfully supported the Gridiron Club during his time in office.

On Feb. 14, St. Valentine’s Day, the governor and his wife invited Gridiron Club President Patrick B. McGuigan to the Blue Room at the State Capitol, for the annual presentation of the governor’s show tickets. The governor and his wife said they plan to attend the Wednesday, Feb. 20 show at Stage Center.

“It’s the show Oklahoma politicians love to hate, but the Gridiron tradition is to singe, not burn, political, cultural and social shenanigans,” said McGuigan, who is serving as the 2007-08 Gridiron Club president.

This year’s show is directed by educator Dana Meister and television journalist Andrew Harris. Past Club President Susan LaVictoire is producer. Veteran Gridiron performer Bob Hale served as chief author for the hilarious script. Stars of the show include Billie Rodely, television journalist Charles Newcomb, state Capitol reporters John Greiner and Jim Campbell, and several vivacious newscomers to the Club.

Also in the show is LaVictoire, now president of the Gridiron Foundation, which coordinates the scholarship program. Beth Gollob of The Oklahoman, Andrew Harris of News9, Cynthia Rozmaryn of radio station KOKC and Kim Mizar-Stem, a print journalist, are other club officers appearing in this year’s show.

Several dozen members of the Oklahoma Press Association are attending the Saturday performance. Gridiron officers said the Friday tickets are selling briskly, but good seats remain. Tickets, at $25 each, can be purchased from the Gridiron Club, online at, or by telephoning ticket chairman Don Schmidt, 405-745-2612.

For information about the Oklahoma City Gridiron’s journalism scholarship program that benefits from every year’s performances, or to download an application, please visit:

Preview Review

Journalists from print and broadcast news satirize the political and cultural scene in the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club’s show, now at Stage Center. This is great fun and good theater, in support of a worthy cause: college and university scholarships. The show begins this week on Wednesday, and continues Friday and Saturday nights. The curtain goes up at 7:45 p.m.

OETA’s Charles Newcomb, a Gridiron veteran, portrays the nation’s chief executive as living “in a Bush kind of world.” Billie Rodely returns as Hillary Clinton, with Bill Perry reprising the former president. Robert Lange delivers as two political stars: Barack Obama and former Vice President Al Gore. Newcomb and Perry reprise the ever-popular “Gridnac the Magnificent” after intermission each night. Pat McGuigan portrays probable GOP nominee John McCain with good humor.

Lovely ladies – Kim Mizar-Stem, Susan LaVictorie, Cassandra LaVictoire and radio journalist Cynthia Rozmaryn – interpret the foibles of four super-celebs. A male quartet aims an unforgettable send-up at U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. Alberto Gonzales is the target of Capitol reporter John Greiner’s interpretation of Johnny Cash – you have to see it to believe it.

Jon Haque, one of five new Gridiron performers, hilariously sends up Dennis Kucinich, whose campaign for president epitomizes hopefuls who “couldn’t get no traction” with voters. Later, Haque portrays state Auditor Jeff McMahan as an Okie Bob Marley, singing “I didn’t do it” to the tune of “I shot the sheriff.” Newcomers Jon Barry, Megan Glyckherr, Ashley Barcum and Erin Boeckman bring good voices and vitality to the fray.

Local tax policies get comical treatment, before a chorus declares “there is nothing like a pro team!” Andrew Harris of News9 is director of the federal act and a performer in several skits, reprising his role as Gov. Brad Henry and giving an amusing interpretation to former state Sen. Gene Stipe’s shenanigans. Beth Gollob is Kim Henry, and later joins real-life hubby Shawn to portray the troubled former first couple at Oral Roberts U.

Bob Hale appears frequently and supervised the script. After an early turn as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Jim Palmer in the second act is a bemused Mayor Mick Cornett, fretting over weight loss and other local concerns. Bill Perry is an over-the-top OSU coach. Faithful performers Joe Mayes, Darrell Morrow, Jon Denton, Don Schmidt, Brooke Harry, Judy Murphy, Sue Perry, Sue Hale and Stephen Rhymer each contribute to the sardonic amusement, while Jean Schmidt is unforgettable as a biker babe. Jim Campbell delivers a nice zing to former House Speaker Lance Cargill.

Bart Vleugels renders several great songs, including speculation on state Treasurer Scott Meacham’s plans for 2010. That sets the stage for a closer that will put a smile on every face. Dana Meister performs and ably directs the State & Local Act.

No joke, now: Gov. Henry and his wife plan to attend Wednesday. Gridiron officers said good seats remain for all performances. Tickets, at $25 each, can be purchased from the Gridiron Club, online at, by telephoning ticket chairman Don Schmidt, 745-2612, or by arriving a bit early for the performances.

For information about the Oklahoma City Gridiron’s journalism scholarship program that benefits from every year’s performances, or to download an application, click here