Frenchie Kiss recounts her experience of Dita Von Teese’ spectacular Strip Strip Hooray! when it visited Chicago this year.
Ever since Dita Von Teese‘s surprise appearance at Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2013 to present Catherine D’Lish with the Sassy Lassy award, I’ve had a bit of ‘Dita fever’. So when I found out that Dita’s show Strip Strip Hooray! was finally coming to Chicago, I was at full fever pitch.
The show fulfilled every expectation I had of Dita. Strip Strip Hooray! was a polished production, dripping with sparkle – all the way down to the backdrop curtain. It was the gorgeous spectacle I wanted it to be!
Dita herself performed four acts, and I loved seeing all the iconic numbers I’d heard so much about live before my very eyes. She opened the show with her tux and Swarovski Martini glass (with an olive sponge!), and throughout the show we got her pink sparkly Rhinestone Cowgirl, her Bird of Paradise in a gilded birdcage (with the most gorgeous fans I’ve ever seen), and – for her finale – the notorious Opium Den. All of these over-the-top acts were filled with colour, glitter, large props and major star wattage. And the audience lapped up every last bit of what Dita was serving.
In between Dita’s acts, the show was filled with a variety of other burlesque favourites from around the globe – from Los Angeles to New York and Paris. Our cast included Selene Luna, Prince Poppycock, Monsieur Romeo, Lada Nikolska from The Crazy Horse, Catherine D’Lish, Dirty Martini, and Chicago’s own queen, Michelle L’amour.
Everyone dazzled, and I was excited to see a few acts that I had never seen before, such as Prince Poppycock singing opera while stripping out of an ornate baroque costume complete with Marie Antoinette-style wig. And Selene Luna‘s entrance on her motorcycle revved all of our engines. Catherine D’Lish was stunning in her black widow act; she worked her spider web with so much grace, power and flexibility. She was beautiful!
I was most excited to see Dirty Martini and Michelle L’amour. I never tire of seeing them perform live (and how lucky am I that I see them perform frequently?!) I don’t think I’m biased towards Michelle when I say that she rules Chicago for a reason. She gave us her ‘Whole Lotta L’amour’ act and stabbed us all in the heart like only Michelle can. The audience absolutely loved her, and I am pretty sure I stopped breathing while she was on stage. I couldn’t have been more proud of Michelle, my – full disclosure – mentor and friend! And Dirty ruled the stage with her panels, tassels, and her ’44 and so much more’. I just love when she twirls and fills the theatre with the whirling energy and mega-watt smile. She even gave a tassel car wash to Murray Hill…
And speaking of Murray Hill, he was our hilarious Strip Strip Hooray! host and the perfect thread to weave the high-gloss, varied show together. The night of our show, he was his usual amount of ‘Showbiz!’ balanced with some twerking, crowd working and a dance off. I absolutely die when Murray’s working a crowd and he definitely worked every inch of us.
Congratulations to Dita and the entire cast and crew of Strip Strip Hooray!. I left the House of Blues in Chicago happy to have seen the spectacular spectacular, and I think it’s a show every burlesquer should see when it comes through town.
(Dita Von Teese: Strip Strip Hooray! in Chicago, 2013. Images ©Scott Harrison)