Olympia’s own resident burlesque cooperative, TUSH! Burlesque, will be on stage this weekend with a titillating romp that celebrates the mystery and magic of Valentine’s Day. Olympia 650-seat Capitol Theater will be the host for TUSH’s special Valentine’s show, this time called “HINT!” — with a Murder Mystery theme. Every year, the Capitol theater hosts a sell-out crowd, so interested attendees should buy tickets early.
TUSH! is a collaboration of local burlesque performers who have been cooperatively creating Neo-Burlesque productions since 2009. TUSH! has developed a dedicated following in Olympia, due to their wicked sense of humor, a focus on entertainment in their performances and innovative storytelling. The TUSH! team was voted “Best Synergy, Best Dance Company and Best Thing to Happen” in a past annual Best of Olympia poll.
The TUSH! team on stage for “HINT!” will include regular performers in disguise. In a nod to the classic board-game CLUE, performers will use additional pseudonyms — Hattie Hotpants will play “Ms. Scarlett”, Beretta Bristol will play “Miss Peach” and Edyn Beaver will play “Mrs. Green,” and Sly Violet as “Miss Peacock.” Princess Lucky Buttons will play “Mrs. White”, Valerie Vales “Professor Plum”, Wednesday Du Mond will appear as “Colonel Mustard” and Bettie Beazlebub as “Madame Rose.”
“This show is our first fully scripted one, based off an iconic board game and drawing from many pop culture sources,” said Hattie Hotpants to OLY ARTS. “The audience will be able to guess along with the action on stage, while enjoying the smouldering burlesque dances TUSH! is known for. I’m so excited to bring some new flare to the Capitol Theater for our annual Valentine’s Day celebration.”
Burlesque is often known today for its striptease elements, but this form of theater builds on centuries of entertainment history. Before the Victorian era, burlesque performances included literary, dramatic or musical parodies or mockeries of current events, politicians and artistic works.
American burlesque shows were originally an offshoot of Victorian burlesque. Burlesque shows in the United States eventually incorporated elements and the structure of popular minstrel shows. They consisted of three parts: first, songs and ribald comic sketches by low comedians; second, assorted olios and male acts, such as acrobats, magicians and solo singers; and third, chorus numbers and sometimes a burlesque in the English style on politics or a current play. The entertainment was usually concluded by an exotic dancer or a wrestling or boxing match.
The transition from theatrical-oriented burlesque to full striptease was gradual in the United States. Famous burlesque performers over the years included Sally Rand, Gypsy Rose Lee, Tempest Storm, Lili St. Cyr, Blaze Starr, Ann Corio and Margie Hart. Comics who appeared in burlesque early in their careers included Mae West, Eddie Cantor, Abbott and Costello, W. C. Fields, Jackie Gleason, Sid Caesar, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton and Sophie Tucker.
TUSH! is part of the revival of burlesque in recent years, often called Neo-Burlesque. New groups such as The Velvet Hammer troupe in Los Angeles and The Shim-Shamettes in New Orleans have brought new attention to the form. Today, international conventions such as the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival and the Miss Exotic World Pageant are held annually.
TUSH! is excited to be part of this revival, and credits Olympia’s own audience for their success. “Olympia’s audiences are incredibly fun, respectful, and supportive! I love performing in Olympia because beauty, eccentricities, and body positivity can all be wrapped up into one ‘package’ and embraced… it is that closeness that makes Olympia audiences so amazing,” said Sly Violet to OLY ARTS. “Oly is great for making serious art while having fun doing it, in a format that supports and encourages strong women in our community.”
NOTE: This show only admits attendees who are 18 years old or older.
Tush Burlesque presents HINT! A Burlesque Murder Mystery
206 5th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501
Saturday, February 10, 8 p.m.
(360) 754-6670 | TUSH Burlesque