issues," says Felber, 35, who also con-
tinues his comic performances on the
stage. "I'm a news junkie, so I keep
tabs on what is going on, and I've
noticed, for example, that people in
the administration try to give simple
reasons for going to war with Iraq."
Felber, a member of the sketch com-
edy team performing as the Irwin
Smalls Trio, has written for the PBS
program Wishbone and is working on
development deals for his first screen-
play, Women Are From.
A graduate of Tufts University, where
he majored in English, Felber performed
with Improv Boston before moving to
New York in 1993 and joining comedy
troupes, which opened him up to being
spotted for the radio program.
"I've been more influenced by Jews than
Judaism," says Felber, who joined Wait,
Wait...Don't Tell Me just a few months
after its start about five years ago. "My
idols represent the range of comedy —
from the Marx Brothers to Neil Simon."
Brad Vangrack, whose own work has
ranged from dinner-theater performances
to an episode of The West Wing, writes,
performs and checks technical equip-
ment for the Capitol Steps as the group
goes on tour. The idea for the troupe,
which also makes recordings, came from
three senatorial aides in Washington
doing a political song-and-dance parody
during a 1981 Christmas party.
'We've been hoping that George
Bush would get into a sex scandal, but
we haven't been very lucky about
that," jokes Vangrack, 43, who
majored in theater at the University of
Maryland and was introduced to the
troupe through a friend some 10 years
ago. "We read lots of newspapers and
watch lots of television to come up
with ideas for our show."
Vangrack, whose wife is Catholic but
is raising their children Jewish, has
worked on the troupe's songs related to
Israeli-Palestinian issues. He says the
troupe tries to be nonpartisan in its
humor and stays alert to sensitive issues
as members turn popular lyrics into
comedy messages about current events.
"It's great to get applause, but laughs
are what really count," Vangrack says.
"I also realize that only a great country
could have a group like this." ❑
The Ann Arbor Summer Festival
runs June 13-July 7 at the Power
Center (tickets required) and the
Top of the Park (free). $25-$50. For
more information, call (734) 647-
2278 or go to wvvvv.mlive.coin/aasf.
For tickets, call (734) 764 2538 or
go to wwwmlive.com/aasf.
Highlights of the
Ann Arbor Summer
Festival, all taking place
at the Power Center in
Ann Arbor, include.
June 14-15 -- MOMIX in
Baseball: a multimedia dance pres
June 17 — Orchestra Baobab: a
fiision of Cuban and African
The Django Reinhardt
New York Festival: a tribute to the
legendary Gypsy guitarist and jazz
violinist Stephanie Grappelli.
June 19 --- Preservation Hall Jazz
Band: music of the New Orleans
Trinity Irish Dance
Company: traditional and contem-
porary Celtic dance.
The Flaming Idiots:
juggling, whip-cracking and bal-
Dee Dee Bridgewater
and the Paul Keller Orchestra: an
Wait, Wait Don't Tell
Me: live taping of an NPR favorite.
June 27 --- Peter Schickele Meets
PDQBach: The Sequel with the
Ann Arbor Symphony: twisted clas-
June 28 — Nadja Salerno-
Sonnenberg, Sergio and Odair
Assad: violinist and Brazilian classi-
cal guitar duo join forces.
Doc Watson (with
opening act, the Alison Brown
Quartet): the world's foremost flat-
The Nylons: a cappella
July 2 and 3 -- Dances with Piano
with Mikhail Baryshnikov: an
evening of solo, modern dance.
July 4 — The Capitol Steps: politi-
cal satire in comedy and song.
July 5 -- Shangri-La Chinese
Acrobats: mixture of movement,
dance, comedy and stunts.
— Suzanne Chessler
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