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February 22, 2014

Club pokes fun at politicians

NORMAN — There are numerous Norman area ties in the irreverent Oklahoma City Gridiron Club’s annual political, musical satire as it roasts local, state and national newsmakers to raise money for journalism scholarships.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and March 1 in Oklahoma City’s Lyric Theatre.

Fodder for the spoof includes the rollout of HealthCare.gov, the coming presidential, gubernatorial and mayoral races, Tea Partiers monkeying around, Oklahoma earthquakes and chief meteorologist Gary England’s retirement from KWTV-Channel 9.

New to the cast this year is Alex Zabel of Norman, who is all big ears as President Barack Obama as a “Sharp-Dressed Man.” Zabel also plays an actor mourning the imminent demise of Oklahoma City’s Stage Center, a former venue for Gridiron shows.

Judy Murphy, a Norman resident retired from the University of Oklahoma, once again portrays Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and as Olga Skankanova encourages the U.S. to draft Russian leader Vladimir Putin to be president in “Putin on the Ritz.” She reprises her role as disgraced former Oklahoma legislator Debbe Leftwich singing about her bribery trial to “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” with the also disgraced former Rep. Randy Terrill character.

Longtime Gridiron head author and retired Oklahoman journalist Ellie Sutter, who lives in rural Cleveland County, backs up Murphy as part of Olga’s Russian peasant entourage and sings in the Hobby Lobby chorus.

Norman native Carol Cole-Frowe, an independent journalist formerly of The Norman Transcript and an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma, sends in the drones as an NSA agent, complains to President David Boren as a disgruntled Pride of Oklahoma alum and sweeps up Veterans Centers as retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon.

Also new to the cast this year is David Fritze, editor of OklahomaWatch.org, which is housed at the Gaylord School of Mass Communication and Journalism at OU. Fritze riffs on “Men in Black” as “Agent Kay,” in his quest for invisibility throughout the show. He has a couple of duets with his cohort Bob Hale as “Agent Jay.”

The Oklahoma City Gridiron Club has been roasting newsmakers since 1928 and has given away more than $500,000 in journalism scholarships.

Tickets are $32.50 and are available at okcgridiron.org.

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