Hexagon political comedy revue returns from pandemic hiatus at new location in Silver Spring

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Hexagon (Part 1)

The Hexagon political comedy troupe has been a D.C. staple for decades, but it unfortunately shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the group lost President Joe Kaplan to the disease in 2020.

Next week, the show hopes to launch a new era with eight live performances from April 21 to April 29.

“Spring of 2019 was the last show we had before the pandemic and our President Joe Kaplan called everything off,” Hexagon’s Gene Tighe told WTOP. “We haven’t really been in active mode since then, so it’s just been in the last eight to nine months that we’ve had a groundswell of people who have come forward and said, ‘Let’s do the show. We think Joe would have wanted that,’ so we’ve kind of dedicated the show to him.”

Kaplan’s widow Ellen teams with Neil McElroy to craft a new show in a new location at the Cultural Arts Center of Montgomery College, located at 7995 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, Maryland. It’s a more intimate venue than previous cstes at the former Woodrow Wilson High School in Tenleytown, D.C. and Synetic Theater in Crystal City, Virginia.

“The show is going to be smaller, it’s going to be more intimate, but it’ll be back to the old tradition of getting original music and material together of the political ilk, so we’ll see how it goes,” Tighe said. “We’re ready for a new try here in 2023, brought to you by a somewhat lesser group of folks who are part of Washington’s only original political satirical musical comedy revue that’s been going since 1955.”

This year’s theme is “Sedition Edition,” riffing on the latest current events in our heated politics.

“It’s going to bring some of the hot issues of the day,” Tighe said. “Across the board, both sides, we’re hoping to get some belly laughs from people … needless to say, the 800-ton gorilla is the War in Ukraine. We have a ton of stuff going on with President Biden and of course his nemesis (Donald Trump). A lot of folks are wondering about the economy, looking behind our backs, and of course civil unrest has become an issue for young people.”

The sketches are interrupted by “breaking news” updates similar to the “Weekend Update” segments on “Saturday Night Live,” including local media personalities Christine Brennan of USA Today, Loo Katz of Hound Radio, Jim Lokay of FOX-5, Tony Perkins of NBC-4 and WTOP’s own Shawn Anderson and Hillary Howard.

“Four times during the show, about 45 minutes or so, media folks who are wonderful volunteers get up on stage and deliver ‘Weekend Update’ style entertainment, similar to what you see on ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Tighe said. “They get up there for about five minutes, tell funny jokes and try to get some laughs from a live audience.”

Hexagon is a non-profit organization founded in 1955 by an alum of the Princeton Triangle Club (three members = triangle). The new group was dubbed Hexagon (six members = hexagon), featuring three men and three women. It now has roughly 100 members consisting of volunteers who hold various day jobs across the nation’s capital.

“We have military people, we have folks all across the board from Capitol Hill to civil contractors, consultants, people who are doing work for everybody, property managers,” Tighe said. “We’ve got school teachers, musicians, you name it … all of these different government folks who are still with us. We always have a good time.”

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Hexagon (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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