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Join Chicagoland’s favorite nerdlesque performers for a night of burlesque and fun at Castle Chicago’s Dome Room!  The evening features performances by the Glitter Guild cast, nerd themed drink specials, and music from Geekeasy’s DJ Aaron Ackerson.  Doors open at 8pm with performances happening throughout the evening, including appearances by:

* Red Rum!
* Paris Green!
* Ray Gunn, the Reigning King of Burlesque!
* Bazuka Joe!
* Hot Tawdry!
* Sauda Namir!
* Hazel Hellbender!
* Lola Getz!
* Katie Angel!
* Rob Racine!
* Slightly Spitfire!

* Hosted by MsPixy & Giant Martini!

VIP ticket holders will have a change to meet the Glitter Guild, take pictures and hangout with the cast and see special performances at the after-afterparty in our cozy Secret Lair beneath Castle Nightclub.

 

Burlesque Afterparty by Glitter Guild Nerdlesque

Friday, April 25, 2014, 8-10:30pm Main Stage  /  10:30pm-1am VIP Secret Lair

@ Castle Nightclub

632 N Dearborn

Show Type: Burlesque

Brown Paper Tickets ~ GLITTER GUILD Burlesque Afterparty

 

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Halloween Hedonism at the Belmont Burlesque Revue

Looking for fiendishly hedonistic way to celebrate the Halloween season?  Join the Belmont Bombshells for an evening of song, schtick, and striptease in their annual Halloween Spooktacular!  Special guests Serenna Starr, Helena Handbasket, Diva LaVida, Hazel Hellbender, and Paly Flames join the critically acclaimed Belmont Bombshells in their annual moonlight revelry hosted by the vampiric MsPixy and her saucy sidekick Giant Martini.  With magic by The Amazing Tomas and comedy by Katie McVay, the Belmont Burlesque Revue is a refreshingly authentic classic burlesque experience bound to thrill striptease neophytes and delight veteran viewers from the first bump to the last grind, and every sequin in between.

 

Saturday. Oct 26 — 10:45 pm

@ Theater Wit

1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Burlesque

Box Office: 773-975-8150

Belmont Burlesque Revue at Theater Wit

1By J. Scott Hill

The exponential growth of Chicago’s Burlesque scene over the last couple of years has made it possible for almost anyone willing to take their clothes off in public to find a paying audience. Just because someone takes their clothes off in public, however, does not make that person a Burlesque dancer. What an absolute delight it was to spend an evening with actual Burlesque dancers at The Belmont Burlesque Revue.

Our tour guides through this debauched aggregation of late night entertainments were MsPixy and her drink-slash-sidekick Giant Martini. MsPixy has been the golden goose of Chicago Burlesque for the last couple of years, writing and directing and choreographing brilliant Burlesque parody shows, such as Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque and Fellowship of the Boobs: A LOTR, D&D, WoW, RPG Burlesque Adventure. Back onstage with her home troupe, Belmont Burlesque, MsPixy did not perform striptease herself, though she did keep the crowd delighted as she plied her Transylvanian accent hosting and singing, and participating in another performer’s striptease (which will be discussed later). MsPixy was incredibly funny and quick with her wits, and she wrangled a difficult audience better than most local stand-ups could have.

Giant Martini, donning no less than four blue cheese stuffed olives, was not up to his straight man routine of egging MsPixy on to talk dirtier and slur her Transylvanian accent a bit as he got emptier and emptier. Ever the pro, MsPixy did manage admirably without Giant Martini’s usual eighty-proof injection of personality booster. It appears that Giant Martini is strictly on the wagon for a few months, since MsPixy is clearly knocked up. Congratulations to MsPixy and her husband, art photographer K Leo, on their pending offspring.

2

MsPixy and the other Belmont Burlesque Bombshells had the assistance of a gal who appears to be their new intern or apprentice, Trixi Kidd. While Ms. Kidd has done the old bump-and-grind elsewhere in other shows, she spent most of her time onstage picking up the castoffs of the other performers. She is clearly already a crowd-pleaser, even in these early stages of her, ahem, training. Given her learning curves, I predict that we shall be seeing a lot more of her very soon. (Note to self: update prescription for glasses now.)

Although the Bombshells of Belmont Burlesque pack enough of an entertainment wallop on their own to knock out any audience, the evening did include a few special guests. Lady Jack performed two slick numbers: one as the ultimate sexy maid and the other as a black-and-red clad Latin vision amped up on surf guitar music. The Amazing Tomás, a regular at many cabaret and Burlesque shows around town, brought his always-entertaining blend of comedy and magic to the party and did not disappoint. The devilish and darling Diva La Vida demonstrated that red wine is not only good for her heart, it also makes her clothing peel off and drop to the floor. Comedian Katie McVay played up the obsessiveness of her inner neurotic nebbish, falling somewhere between Willow Rosenberg and Rupert Pupkin.

3

The Belmont Burlesque Bombshells, however, would not be outdone in their own revue. Kitten Kaboodle seduced the crowd as she writhed around in a nightie (and progressively less) to the spy-and-surf sound of The Reverend Horton Heat’s “In Your Wildest Dreams” — me-OW. There is much more to Titi Touché than just a great pair of gams, and she showed most of that “much more” to awestruck onlookers when she stripped the light fandango to Ray Charles’s “The Nighttime is the Right Time.”

4

No Belmont Burlesque Revue would be complete without the lethal curves of Paris Green. Scantily costumed in a yellow-and-black nothing that made her look as much like an arch-villain as a sexy bee, Paris Green buzzed and swooped to protect her honey pot from a wily old bear (played by MsPixy), while the boogie-woogie music playing in the background gave her moves their classic rhythm. Burlesque dancing may be half role-playing, but you won’t ever find this much oomph and oolala while a-LARPing in the woods — put that in your beehive and smoke it!

5

The Belmont Burlesque Bombshells came together for their frilly parasol number, with the vivacious Hazel Hellbender making a guest appearance as the substitute for the preggers MsPixy. The Bombshells appeared to have just stepped out of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte at the Art Institute and strolled over to the theatre. This tightly choreographed routine was one part Busby Berkeley and three parts Moulin Rouge, and one hundred percent charming.

6

If you just want to see exhibitionists bare all in a public forum, then any old Burlesque show around town will do. If, however, you want to see sensual, seasoned ecdysiasts ply their art by joyously titillating and teasing their fans with neo-vintage Burlesque hipster hip-sway, then The Belmont Burlesque Revue at Theater Wit is perfect.

4 STARS

(“The Belmont Burlesque Revue” runs monthly [next show June 22, 2013] at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave.773-975-8150)

TICKETS: The Belmont Burlesque Revue

Belmont Burlesque

Theater Wit

Belmont Burlesque Revue photos by Black Pearl Photo.

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Belmont Burlesque Revue

Belmont Burlesque is back—and it’s a bouncy, bawdy good time! Widely regarded as a driving force in Chicago’s 21st century burlesque revival, the Belmont Burlesque Revue features a hand-picked selection of Chicago’s best burlesque performers and novelty acts, plus touring striptease artists from across the country!

Hosted by MsPixy (with her sloshy sidekick Giant Martini), and featuring the critically acclaimed Belmont Bombshells, this lighthearted, sexy show is also the home of internationally renowned magician the Amazing Tomas and a showcase for some of Chicago’s hottest up-and-coming stand-up comics.

A great “first time” show for those new to burlesque, and an even better “best of” show for burlesque connoisseurs. Whether it’s date night, girls’/guys’ night out, or just a few friends in search of a lightly naughty adventure, the Belmont Burlesque Revue never fails to titillate, tease, and entertain.

Special guests vary by performance.

Monthly, beginning Saturday. Mar 2 — 10:45 pm

@ Theater Wit

1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Burlesque

Box Office: 773-975-8150

Belmont Burlesque Revue at Theater Wit

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Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque

Oh-a-YES! After voyaging far and wide (including an ongoing stint in New Orleans!) Gorilla Tango Theatre is proud to announce that the show that started it all – BOOBS AND GOOMBAS: A SUPER MARIO BURLESQUE – is back at its Bucktown venue!

Mario and Luigi have become so perpetually frustrated by their endless pursuit of the Princess that everything they see has started to look like a beautiful, sexy woman– even their most dangerous enemies! This sexy burlesque romp is a send-up of the  famous Mario Bros. video games. Join us to discover whether the world’s most adventurous plumbers will finally rescue the Princess and consummate years of amorous toil, or be seduced along the way by their alluring enemies. Don’t forget to bring a few “coins” (or dollars) for tips… If the cast collects enough coins along the way, the audience will unlock the alternate ending!!!

BOOBS AND GOOMBAS: A SUPER MARIO BURLESQUE was originally created and directed by MsPixy. The remount is directed by Jeremy Eden, with choreography by Ruby Bourban, based in part on original choreography by MsPixy. Produced by Gorilla Tango Burlesque.

Read the 3-½ STAR review of the original run here: BOOBS AND GOOMBAS – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

Presented by Gorilla Tango Burlesque

 Saturdays: 11:59pm, beginning Feb 2, 2013

@ Gorilla Tango Theatre

1919 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Burlesque (over 18 only)

Box Office: 773-598-4549

Gorilla Tango Theatre – Chicago


Belmont Burlesque Presents:

Jingle Belles (the Naughty List)!

The Belmont Burlesque Revue presents our annual tinsel-tastic holiday spectacular, Jingle Belles (the Naughty List)!

See! How to Jingle one’s Belles!
See! How the Sugar gets into the Plum!
See! The Festival of Lights done right!

Fill your cup to overflowing with wild holiday shenanigans, featuring the bawdy teasing of the Belmont Bombshells, the merrily magical Amazing Tomas, hilarious ho-ho-host Adam Burke, the comedy song stylings of Homer Marrs, and other special guests to make the holiday extra festive!

TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY!
Saturday. Dec 8 — 10:30 pm
Saturday, Dec 15 — 10:30 pm

@ Theater Wit

1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Burlesque

Box Office: 773-975-8150

Belmont Burlesque Presents: Jingle Belles (the Naughty List)! – Theater Wit

Fellowship of the Boobs: A LOTR, D&D, WoW, RPG Burlesque Adventure

FELLOWSHIP OF THE BOOBS: A LOTR, D&D, WoW, RPG BURLESQUE ADVENTURE is returning for a limited run engagement. With inspirations drawn from Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, and Dungeons and Dragons (as the title suggests), FELLOWSHIP OF THE BOOBS entwines classic burlesque gimmicks with iconic fantasy moments. Though the script is chock-full of references for the die-hard nerd crowd, creator/director MsPixy reassures us that you don’t need a game manual to play along. “These are strong, sexy, satisfyingly silly characters that have become part of the cultural consciousness. You don’t need to have memorized a map of Middle Earth to enjoy the journey… but if you have, there are many landmarks you’ll recognize along the way.”

From the start of the show the audience is welcomed as a fellow (chair-bound) adventurer and provided with training to fulfill their role as “Healer” on the journey. Endowed with the powers of Encouraging Woot (to give energy to the mighty bosoms of their fellow travelers) and Generous Tipping (to help restore Tip Points lost in battles with sexy beasties), both audience members with deep pockets and those saving their pennies for a post-show beverage can aide the forward progress of the Quest (and earn appreciative winks and shimmies from their on-stage companions).

Read the 4 STAR review of the original run here: FELLOWSHIP OF THE BOOBS – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

Presented by Gorilla Tango Burlesque

Sep 22 – Oct 27, 2012 ~ Saturdays: 10:30pm

@ Gorilla Tango Theatre

1919 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Show Type: Burlesque (over 18 only)

Box Office: 773-598-4549

Gorilla Tango Theatre – Chicago

By J. Scott Hill

MsPixy is one of the movers and shakers in Chicago’s lava-hot burlesque scene. In Part One of this interview (Variety Meets: MsPixy – Part One – Chicago Stage Review), MsPixy told Chicago Stage Review about being a Bombshell in the Belmont Burlesque Revue. We also discussed her runaway success as the writer and director of Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque and Fellowship of the Boobs: A LOTR, WoW, D&D, RPG Burlesque. Fellowship of the Boobs has continued in open run at Gorilla Tango Theatre for nine months now, Boobs and Goombas for a year and a half.

At the end of Part One, we were exploring the differences between the typical burlesque revue and the burlesque plays MsPixy creates.

* * * *

CHICAGO STAGE REVIEW: Your Geek Girl Burlesque shows have done two very important things for Chicago’s Burlesque community. First, I think Burlesque is on the radar of Chicago actresses now in ways it hadn’t been — when it comes time to audition and when it comes time to take classes. Second, you are providing Chicago’s Burlesque community with a wellspring of fresh talent.

MsPixy: Thanks for the lovely words about our impact on the community!

CSR: I understand that, in the face of all of this success, Geek Girl Burlesque changed its name.Why do that?

MsPx: We changed our name from Geek Girl Burlesque to Gorilla Tango Burlesque after we realized just how many things in the country are named “Geek Girl” something. (There is also a Geek Girl Burlesque in New York that started recently –unrelated to and, we assume, unaware of, our own troupe). However, we hung on to the name in one sense: our performers are referred to as the “Geek Girls,” much as Belmont Burlesque refers to our performers as the “Belmont Bombshells.” So we haven’t given up the geek entirely. Plus, we all love the logo possibilities involving both Gorillas and pretty girls that the Gorilla Tango Burlesque name implies.

CSR: The name isn’t the only major change to Gorilla Tango Burlesque in light of the successes of Boobs and Goombas and Fellowship of the Boobs, is it?

MsPx: This was not so much a change as an addition. As of October 1, 2011, I became the Artistic Director of Gorilla Tango Burlesque. Prior to my stepping into the role, there was no Artistic Director. Once we reached a certain critical mass, however, it seemed clear that it would be to our benefit to have one person keeping a watchful eye on the artistic quality of our many burlesque productions.

CSR: Since you took the helm, there have been a number of burlesque shows to come out of Gorilla Tango Burlesque that have been written and directed by others — for example,Temple of Boobs, A Nude Hope, and El Mari Chi Chi. How involved are you with these productions?

MxPx: In my capacity as Artistic Director I work closely with the Gorilla Tango Executive Director, Executive Producer, and Director of Marketing to help select new shows for production, as well as maintain the production and performance values on the shows that are currently running. I’m even working with the directors of the other shows to continue to refine, adjust, and update the scripts and performance details of each show. Fortunately for me, the directors of all the shows that are currently open and in development have been WONDERFUL to work with. They have been very open to dialogue about ways to continue to improve the quality of each project, and full of great ideas and inspirations of their own that create a fantastic atmosphere of creativity and positivity.

CSR: You have not given up writing and directing shows yourself, have you?

MsPx: The next project that I personally wrote and am directing and choreographing is SuperBoobs!: A Superhero Burlesque Adventure, opening April 14.

CSR: So, since you are currently in full-steam creative mode, what is the most important asset for one of your performers to have: acting ability, dance moves, comic timing, or something else?

MsPx: Great question! This is right at the front of my mind right now. For me, the number one most important thing I look for in a performer is the ability to fully inhabit a grounded, believable, larger-than-life character from the core outward, followed very closely by the ability to connect honestly and directly with other performers (and the audience!). As Jim Henson said to Caroll Spinney, “It doesn’t matter if YOU can dance, Big Bird THINKS he can dance.” The ability to dance well is secondary to the ability to fully inhabit a believable character, but it is a quality we take into consideration when casting, as well as the performer’s ability to project self-confidence. In my experience “comic timing” is an ability to fully invest in the truth of the moment while solidly connected to one’s scene partner(s) and audience.

CSR: Even though you are in the throes of SuperBoobs! right now, I want to take you back to your other shows for a moment. Do you have a particular favorite burlesque routine from either Boobs and Goombas or Fellowship of the Boobs?

MsPx: Might as well ask a mother to choose her favorite child! I will say, though, that I have a soft spot for the Elf/Spider number in Fellowship, as I love the combination of the silhouette, the stretchy “spider web” fabric, and the full-body puppetry of the spider’s rig. But ask me another day and I might prefer the Chain Chomp number from Boobs and Goombas or theFellowship closing number (16 bouncing boobies! Huzzah!). And, really, I love them all equally for different reasons, of course.

CSR: Spoken like any good mother. Soon, the world will get to see your newest children in SuperBoobs!: A Superhero Burlesque Adventure. Short of anything requiring the tag SPOILER ALERT, what can you tell us about SuperBoobs!?

MsPx: Hmm. Well, the first spoiler happens about three minutes into the show, but I suppose folks might still come to see it even if they know they’re going to be kidnapped by the Joker. But I probably shouldn’t tell you that he’s going to make the audience vote to either save either themselves OR the superheroes he’s kidnapped from both the DC and Marvel universes. And I certainly don’t want to give away how Harley Quinn fits in to the whole picture — so, gosh, I guess I can’t tell you anything at all without spoilers galore. Folks will just have to come on out and see the show. (WINK!) Oh, and there will be many super boobies. I don’t think that’s a spoiler — if our audience hasn’t figured that out by the time they take their seats they are truly in for a lovely dramatic reveal.

CSR: You have become something of a burlesque superhero yourself. What is your secret weapon?

MsPx: My fiancé, K Leo (www.mirthandbeauty.com), has been my sounding board, inspiration, and occasional “stern taskmaster” throughout the development process of each of the shows I’ve written/directed/choreographed myself. His feedback has been invaluable because he has the chutzpah to tell me when things are just not funny, not sexy, or not coming across the way I see them in my head. Without him alternately cracking the whip and providing much-needed encouragement, there’s no chance my shows would be as funny or sexy as they turned out to be. Not to mention the fact that he has done the publicity photos and assisted with the poster design for all my shows as well! A fine secret weapon indeed, and one I intend to keep close to my bosom in perpetuity (and here’s a Spoiler Alert for you: he’s written two fantastic, hilarious scripts himself that will be released in the Fall. One for a Walking Dead burlesque, official title TBA, which he will be directing to open in October, and one for The Empire Brings Sexy Back, which I will be directing to open November 2012).

CSR: He’s a lucky and talented man. That brings us to the end of this interview. To wrap things up, I’m going to hit you with a few rapid-fire nerd questions. First, what is your favorite science fiction film?

MsPx: Brazil.

CSR: What is your favorite fantasy film?

MsPx: Labyrinth.

CSR: Who is your favorite science fiction author?

MsPx: Douglas Adams.

CSR: Who is your favorite fantasy author?

MsPx: Anne McCaffrey.

CSR: MsPixy of Gorilla Tango Burlesque, Belmont Burlesque Revue, and (apparently) Pern, thank you for sharing your time with Chicago Stage Review.

For Part One of this interview, follow this link: Variety Meets: MsPixy – Part One – Chicago Stage Review

MsPixy’s new show SuperBoobs!: A Superhero Burlesque Adventure runs Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, beginning April 14. 773-598-4549.

Gorilla Tango Theatre

MsPixy and Super Boobs! images by K Leo.

Read the 3 1/2 STAR Super Boobs! review here: SuperBoobs!: A Superhero Burlesque Adventure – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

By J. Scott Hill

The first time I saw MsPixy perform was at a Broadzilla show, upstairs at Exit. It was crowded. Some schoolgirl-skirted dorklette, her plaid hoodie zipped up tight, shouldered her way by me.As I gave the stink-eye to the back of her head, I saw the number 42 emblazoned upon the back of her hoodie. My glare dissipated and all was right with the world, as 42 could only mean that this dorklette was an acolyte of Douglas Adams, sharing the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything with the world. Then, the speakers started thumping with MC Chris’s “Nrrrd Grrrl” and that dorklette’s hoodie very slowly and awkwardly came off to eventually reveal nearly every square inch of MsPixy. MsPixy’s act that evening was guerrilla theatre, nerd burlesque, and performance art with mass appeal.

In the short time since then, MsPixy has become the toast of the town as the writer and director of Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque and Fellowship of the Boobs: A LOTR, WoW, D&D, RPG Burlesque, both in open run at Gorilla Tango Theatre.

I recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with MsPixy. Here is Part One (of two) of our conversation.

* * * *

CHICAGO STAGE REVIEW: MsPixy, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with Chicago Stage Review. You have been active in the Chicago burlesque scene for about ten years now. What prompted you to pursue this kind of art in the first place? What has kept you performing for this long?

MsPIXY: I got into burlesque because I love celebrating my own sexuality (and, through the process of catharsis, encouraging the audience to celebrate their own sexuality and that of those around them). I stayed in burlesque because I was working with wonderful, warm, funny women who brought great ideas to the table, supported one another, and knew that sometimes “rehearsal” means “wine and cheese night.” And, of course, because there’s something super-addictive about the feeling you get when you take off your clothes in front of a room full of people, and everyone goes WOO-HOO!!!

CSR: It was a shame to see the end of Belmont Burlesque Revue’s monthly shows at Playground Theater last year. Are you still performing regularly with BBR?

MsPx: The Belmont Burlesque Revue is still an active burlesque troupe, but in the future we will be doing short runs rather than an ongoing monthly revue. In December, we produced a three-week run of Jingle Belles: The Naughty List, our annual Holiday-themed show. I’ll confess, even in the months we had “off” since we closed the open run, we’ve met about once a month for a wine and cheese “rehearsal” just to keep the love alive. So, to us it’s felt less like we’ve closed and more like we’ve just chilled out a little. The next Belmont Burlesque Revue performances will be two nights only, June 1 and 2, at Stage 773.

CSR: In addition to performing as a Belmont Bombshell, you have been working with Gorilla Tango Theatre, writing and directing full burlesque productions. Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque has had phenomenal success. How did your relationship with Gorilla Tango start?

MsPx: Kelly Williams (Gorilla Tango’s PR and Marketing coordinator) and Dan Abatte (Gorilla Tango’s founder and CEO) were thinking they’d like to create a burlesque show that paid as much homage to burlesque’s comedy roots as its striptease element. They were looking for someone with a background in writing and performing sketch comedy as well as burlesque. Kelly and I had worked together on a sprinkling of non-burlesque comedy projects and classes, and she was aware of my work in burlesque. So, she got in touch with me and we started brainstorming (keeping it geeky was my idea– they say “write what you know.” What can I say.I’m a big ol’ nerd. )

CSR: There must be a lot of other big ol’ nerds out there, because Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque keeps selling out, week after week. When did you realize that Boobs and Goombas was going to be a smash hit?

MsPx: I think we first realized Boobs and Goombas was really blowing up when people started calling to demand tickets and getting irate when we were sold out. That was an early indicator that this was bigger than we had expected it to be. For me, though, the real “we made it” moment was when unsolicited fan art started popping up here and there on the web. I LOVE FAN ART and the saucy fan girls (and boys) who make it.

CSR: Having one runaway hit might be enough for some writers and/or directors, but with Boobs and Goombas garnering extension after extension, you followed up with Fellowship of the Boobs: A LOTR, WoW, D&D, RPG Burlesque. How did this show come about?

MsPx: Once we realized that there was enough interest in the niche market of sexiness by and for the geek crowd, Fellowship, for me, was the natural next choice, as the realm of swords, sorcery, and dragons is the one closest to my nerdly heart. In my awkward teen and pre-teen years, fantasy novels were my escape and refuge (not to mention my introduction to a number of the finer points of… erm… physical relations between consenting adults). I headed straight for my own personal favorite things to fantasize about.

CSR: Both shows have been very well received by critics and audiences alike. Are these the first full-length scripts of yours that have been professionally produced?

MsPx: Boobs and Goombas and Fellowship of the Boobs are the first two scripts I’ve had professionally produced that I created and wrote (not to mention designed, choreographed, and directed) entirely myself. On both shows, I was assisted by various costumers who had a hand in the design and development of some of the costumes.

CSR: Have there been a lot of cast changes in the two shows since they opened?

MsPx: In general, we have a set cast of 8 performers for the first 2-3 months of a show’s run. When the show does well and it’s apparent that it will become part of our regular repertoire, we begin to expand the cast so that performers can have a night off now and again. On average, we hold auditions for each show once every 2-3 months to add 2-4 additional cast members and/or replace any girls that are stepping out of the show. Often when we bring a new girl in to learn the show she will learn 2 or 3 roles, so there are many current cast members who can step in to cover a number of roles if needed.

CSR: How many of those cast members would you estimate mark either of the two shows as their entry into burlesque?

MsPx: Since nearly every other group in town is producing revues with a cast that varies from week to week, independent performers are used to doing a show with one group one weekend, and a different group the next weekend. This means that most of the independent burlesque performers in Chicago have been reluctant to commit to a 3-month run of a show that performs weekly. With the exception of Coo d’Twat, who originated the role of Mario in Boobs and Goombas, the bulk of our performers are new to burlesque when they join us. However, several of our troupe members have gone on to expand their performance repertoire to venues outside of Gorilla Tango Burlesque once they’ve started with us.

CSR: Are you saying that your shows are fundamentally different from most burlesque shows?

MsPx: I often get requests from burlesque performers who haven’t seen our shows, asking if they can bring a number of their own to perform — assuming that when we say A Super Mario Burlesque, we are just presenting a collection of burlesque numbers on a similar theme. In most local burlesque companies, the performers provide their own costumes at their own expense and develop their own numbers. We work differently than most troupes in that we provide the costumes, concepts, and work with the performers to develop the routines. In general, though, I have found that any intelligent actress with solid movement skills is more than capable of understanding, enjoying, and performing burlesque. After all, it’s just another form of performance art, and any actress worth her salt is more than capable of learning the necessary skills to be a successful burlesque performer. I guess the only difference we’ve found is that once we bring someone in and teach them the basics, they tend to fall in love with the art of striptease and want to stick around to do show after show.

* * * *

Want to know more about MsPixy? Look for Part Two of “Variety Meets: MsPixy” coming soon! In the meantime, check out these links:

Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

The Fellowship of the Boobs – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

Gorilla Tango Burlesque ~ Gorilla Tango Theatre

Belmont Burlesque Review ~ Belmont Burlesque

Broadzilla, the Burlesque Beast ~ Vaudezilla Chicago Burlesque

MsPixy Hoodie 42 photo by Greg Inda. All other photos by K Leo.

By J. Scott Hill

Who is Chicago’s hottest playwright right now? Sarah Ruhl? Tracy Letts? Bruce Norris?

MsPixy.

MsPixy, the belle of Belmont Burlesque Revue and a driving force behind Gorilla Tango’s Geek Girl Burlesque, is the hottest playwright in Chicago right now. She doesn’t even call herself a playwright; the press releases from Gorilla Tango say, “created and directed by MsPixy.” Her runaway hit Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque has been playing to sold-out crowds Fridays and Saturdays for nine months now; not since TimeLine Theatre’s 2009 smash production of Alan Bennett’s History Boys has a show been extended and re-extended so many times.

This time, MsPixy has taken on the entire genre of fantasy — films, fiction, and gaming — with Geek Girl Burlesque’s The Fellowship of the Boobs: a LotR, WoW, D&D RPG Burlesque. The Fellowship of the Boobs is about as far from a sophomore slump as MsPixy can get. Although this show is chockablock full of in-jokes for the sword-and-sorcery-initiated, there are nonstop laughs here for anyone who has ever seen a summer movie that turned a profit, or read a book containing even a single elf. The plot is as familiar as the Shire: four adventurers — The Elf, The Dwarf, The Warrior, and The Mysterious Zemrat — embark upon a ribald quest to defeat the big bad Dragonbitch.

The Fellowship of the Boobs is, above all, an intelligent and hilarious satire. Take out the striptease, replace it with melee fighting, and this script would be an excellent vehicle for Babes with Blades. Take out the striptease, replace it with musical numbers, and this script would be an excellent vehicle for Second City Theatricals. The play’s the thing, and this one’s got brains AND belly laughs.

And boobs. They’re in the title, even. The cheesecake here is provocative, at times visually stunning, and always dead sexy. One of our heroines is trapped in a backlit gossamer cocoon of spider’s silk. Another adventurer is disrobed by pixies. Still another is restrained and undressed by Cthulhu. MsPixy’s costume design and choreography are daring and inventive.

It always helps to have a strong cast, and MsPixy has cannibalized three-quarters of Boobs and Goombas’s wonderful original cast for FotB. Dinah Dentata sparkles as the hippie-dippy Elf, and that’s more than just body glitter. Hazel Hellbender’s Dwarf dropped straight out of the pages of a manga and onto the set; in a miniskirt and pigtails, wielding a battleaxe, Hazel Hellbender makes viciousness super-kawaii. Diva la Vida as the Mysterious Zemrat looks like Lady Gaga’s bodyguard gone dieselpunk, and acts like a cross between a queen xenomorph and John Shaft (JFGI).

The Warrior, played by London Derriere, might as well be called Valkyrie, with her bringing of death and her delightfully ponderous and gooney Scandinavian accent — think Madeline Kahn as Lili von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles, but move the accent 1,600 miles due north. With dead-on comic timing and a breakaway breastplate, London Derriere simpers, simmers, and slaughters.

A handful of performers in The Fellowship of the Boobs are tasked with playing the throngs of friends and foes who the four heroines encounter throughout their quest. Lacey Lay plays several characters, but makes everyone would-be tree-huggers as the Birch Nymph. Roofie Colada turns heads most when she spins her silk as Spider. Sweet Ginger Rose has more costume changes than a shopping montage in a Julia Roberts movie; among her many roles, Ms. Rose is fuzzy and ferocious as the She-Wolf, while friendly and fast-witted as the Tip Wench.

Mama Bare takes on a few parts in The Fellowship of the Boobs, but none as essential or as entertaining as the Dungeon Master. Mama Bare’s Dungeon Master is the tour guide, the narrator, and the voice of reason on this madcap pilgrimage. She is the gal behind the counter at your favorite comics shop, the cosplay princess at the sci-fi convention, and the clan chieftain of your LARP.

Right now, Chicago has a lava-hot burlesque scene; with The Fellowship of the Boobs, Geek Girl Burlesque has thrown an enchanted ring into that hot burlesque lava. This enchantment, scribed by MsPixy, is the one to rule them all. Be ye one whom the masses venerate as cool, or one whom doth get label-ed nerdDO NOT MISS this sexy, smart, and sublime adventure.

4 STARS

(“The Fellowship of the Boobs: a LotR, WoW, D&D RPG Burlesque” runs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. through August 25 at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. 773-598-4549)

Gorilla Tango Theatre – Chicago

The Fellowship of the Boobs production photos by K Leo.