Dear Constant Reader,
I was excited for this show, which was an idea Scratch had a long time ago — we would all perform to covers of songs, mostly current pop songs covered in a vintage-ish style. Then I discovered I had been accepted to ABurlyQ! for the same weekend as the shows, which were in Salem and New Hampshire. I was delighted when we decided to do the show on our home turf too.
I revived a very old number and created a brand-new one to a song I’ve been longing to use for a while now. I wrote about modifying a costume piece for the first one recently (and a little follow up report if you are a Patron). Neither one was particularly simple to create or rehearse and I confess to being worried abut the results for a while.
Things got a little exciting when Scratch got a message from our special guest, Carla Corazón, on the morning of the show — she was sick and had lost her voice. Since she was supposed to be singing, this was pretty bad. I’ll let you know how we handled things further down. Also, something went very wrong with transportation for Valerie, one of our new apprentices and a stage kitten for this show, and she didn’t arrive until halfway through the show. Again, it was handled by cast and crew gracefully.
And here’s the show…
Artemisia Vulgaris, Devastasia, Gin-ni Gelato: Poison (Bell Biv DeVoe covered by Post Modern Jukebox)
Three murderesses each think they’ll be the last one standing as they plot to take out the competition. Choreographed by Betty Blaize and originally performed at Cover Girls on the road. Only Devastasia was original to that version of the number and I’ll be taking Gin-ni’s place when we perform it at Bad Luck Burlesque in Salem.
Scratch: Magic (to Pastime Rag by Artie Matthews covered by Richard Dowling)
Here we ran into a small problem, because the costumes needed to be cleared from the stage *and* the table with the poisoned glasses needed to be struck *and* Scratch had a bit of schtick where he needed to be introduced by Nicole, who was also the sole available apprentice/stage kitten (Valerie was having the above-mentioned transportation issues and Gin-ni needed to get dressed before she could help). Somehow she managed to get most of it done.
It’s a card trick he does silently, because his mouth is taped shut — which is why he needed Nicole’s introduction.
Mina Murray: Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini Orchestra covered by Art of Noise)
My very first striptease was to the Peter Gunn Theme, although I used the Blues Brothers’ version back then. I still love the music and the costume. It’s evolved a bit in over a decade, but it’s not my typical languid moves and sparkly costume. This is where the previously mentioned zippered trousers come in.
Scratch: Makin’ Whoopee (Eddie Cantor covered by Tony Bennett)
Originally Carla was supposed to be singing “Fever” here. Since she was too sick to perform ( no fever jokes please), Scratch decided he would fill in with something from his repertoire. He sings so infrequently that most people don’t realize that it’s one of his many talents. He did pretty well until someone from the audience yelled “take it off!”.
Devastasia: Love Potion No. 9 (The Clovers covered by Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass Band)
A rather classic striptease with a boa. Devastasia used her winning smile to great effect as she teased the audience with her love potion.
Betty Blaize: 1812 Overdrive (Tchaikovsky covered by The Brian Setzer Orchestra)
Betty created this act for The Big Time and built a stack of dice she can sit and stand on. It’s pretty impressive. However, it’s all stage hands on deck to move it and we were still down a kitten at this point. Artemisia lent a hand and everything went smoothly. Also, Betty’s costume is pretty impressive and has gotten more so since she first created the concept.
Artemisia Vulgaris: All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor covered by PMJ)
This was the other song Carla was supposed to sing. Fortunately, Artemisia knew it and jumped in to fill the spot. She gets big points for going above & beyond this show.
Betty Blaize: Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns ‘n’ Roses covered by Miche Braden with PMJ)
Betty did a stripped-down and dirty tease that was perfect for the down & dirty sound of this song.
Mina Murray: Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin & Queen arranged by Scott Bradlee)
As soon as I heard this song, I wanted to perform to it. It’s an incredibly clever piece of music, blending two wonderful and disparate songs. And the only way I could get close to using Queen on stage. I tried is as a straight-ahead striptease, but realized it needed the drama of fans.
Scratch: Magic (to A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles covered by Count Basie)
One of the best things I learned during the work on this show was that Count Basie had *two* albums of Beatles covers. They’re amazing; you should listen to them. Scratch did a very classic-style magic trick with, appropriately for a burlesque troupe, feathers.
Betty Blaize, Artemisia Vulgaris, Devastasia: Temptation (Tom Waits covered by Diana Krall)
Carla was also supposed to be singing this one. Fortunately we have a terrific recording of Billie Von Bonbon (long-time fans will remember her from V for Vixen and French Kiss, among other shows) singing this. The three ladies tempted the audience with various vices.
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