11:14am

Wed July 9, 2014
Arts

Mid-State Musical Lampoons Controversial State Senator

Actor Chad Webb portrays the title character in “Casey Stampfield: the Musical.”
Actor Chad Webb portrays the title character in “Casey Stampfield: the Musical.”
Credit E. R. West

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WEST)  --  Knoxville Republican State Senator Stacey Campfield’s conservative political antics have earned him national media attention. Jon Stewart has skewered him not once, but twice, on the Daily Show.

Now Campfield is being lampooned on stage in a witty new production entitled, “Casey Stampfield: the Musical.”

The musical leaves its audience in stiches during a 50-minute show presented by the Music Theatre Company. The production includes sharp dialogue and musical parodies about the legislation and public faux pas of its main political character, Casey Stampfield.

Chad Webb, who plays Stampfield, appears on the Nashville stage standing in front of the state flag in a black suit and bright orange tie. Before the curtain went up, Webb talked about what he did as an actor to get into Stampfield ‘s head in preparation for playing the part.

“I just don’t understand him,” Webb said. “So I kind wanted to dive into his mind and understand what drives a person to pass legislation so… so crazy.”

The music mimics Webb’s thoughts about his character with lyrics written by Bradley Moore, Mark Beall and Michael McFadden.  The show’s writer’s also used several musical numbers to explore what they believe motivates Stampfield.

“His one regret is that he thinks he’s misunderstood. Senator from Knoxville why won’t you leave us for good,” the chorus croons as Stampfield walks onstage.

The musical numbers include all genres of music from vaudeville to rap. Several songs are twists on well-known tunes. The Tennessee fight song, “Rocky Top,” and even Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” become the parodies “Carrot Top” and “The Dumbest Man of All.”

But it’s not just the songs that provide the hilarity. In between numbers, four other characters give their own takes on Stampfield’s political career in the Tennessee General Assembly.

“Your comments have gone from controversial, to stupid to dangerous,” says character Memory Strong, the citizen from Memphis.

They go on to discuss behavior that caused the police to kick Stampfield out of public events, his “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and his more recent “Merry Christmas” bill, which went into effect July 1.

This hilarious and creative production runs again this Thursday-Saturday at Vibe Entertainment Complex in Nashville. The Music City Theatre Company will stage it again Aug. 7, the day voters go to the polls for the Republican primary.

If reelected in November, the real senator, Stacey Campfield, might very well provide material for a sequel.