Burlesque Theatre Opens 3/13 At The Denver Civic Theater

By: Feb. 25, 2009
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For the first time since the 1930's a theatre is being built specifically to house burlesque, headed up by Reyna Von Vett of last fall's acclaimed Leadville or Bust-- a playful romp through 1880's burlesque (Reyna played Tanya for 2 years in the Las Vegas company of Mamma Mia!) and Michelle Baldwin, a.k.a. Vivienne VaVoom, the Mother of Neo-Burlesque in Denver and creator of one of the first neo-burlesque troupes in the U.S., Burlesque As It Was. Converting the space recently known as the Black Box Cabaret in the Denver Civic Theatre ( 721 Santa Fe Dr. , Denver ), Von Vett and Baldwin aim to bring burlesque back while playing homage to the great tradition of burlesque that began in the late 1800's and all but disappeared in the 1960's.

While it seems ‘crazy' to start up a theatre in this economy, Von Vett and Baldwin point to the Great Depression and how burlesque was the one form of live entertainment that survived and thrived, even moving into the Times Square theatre district of New York when ‘legitimate' theatres closed their shows.

Historically burlesque shows were a place to have a laugh, see a pretty girl and forget your troubles and the Black Box Burlesque will follow that tradition, by providing an experience filled with frivolity and fun in a top notch theatre experience.

Playing on the seeming insanity of their new venture, the show will open in March on Friday the 13th. Von Vett figures that they've already got so much working against them with the financial state of the nation, starting up on an unlucky date will hopefully have the opposite effect and bring in, rather than chase away audiences.

The old Black Box Cabaret is being transformed with a lavish new set design and a faux-finish interior with turn-of-the-century details covering the black walls. Little lights edge the stage and the cabaret tables are draped in lush fabric. Everything about the theatre, from the décor to the entertainment will transform the audience into another era.

Von Vett will present Leadville or Bust, her tribute to the early history of burlesque, when the sex and scandal was about corsets, tights and bawdy songs (Oh My!). The show garnered widespread acclaim when it was put up for a short run last fall at the Crossroads Theatre in 5-points. A boisterous romp through 1880-1900's burlesque, Leadville or Bust features songs and jokes reflecting an era the reveled in the double entendre and thought can-can dancers were the height of naughty dancing.

Von Vett and her Hell's Belles dance and sing in tight harmonies to fun, turn-of-the-century songs like "Ragtime Cowboy Joe," "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "Seeing Denver" to bawdy songs like "Sam the Hot Dog Man," "Hot Nuts (Get ‘Em From The Peanut Man)," "Press My Button (Ring My Bell)" and many more...

For the late night, weekend show, Baldwin brings her decade of burlesque experience to an all new cast. A proponent of the classic 1930-1960 style of burlesque (and named "Most Classic" at the 2008 Boston Burlesque Expo), Baldwin has molded a lineup of some of Denver 's finest actresses into Lili St. Cyr and Gypsy Rose Lee quality ecdysiasts!

Much more tease than strip, Burlesque As It Was features tap dancing, an over-the-top can-can and retro tributes to old burlesque staples like the fan dance, screen dance and the balloon-pop number. Ignoring the question "How many rhinestones are too many rhinestones" Baldwin and Von Vett's costumes push the glitter and sparkle envelope. A visual extravaganza, hosted by Von Vett's new character "Cora Vette" -clad mostly in sparkle vinyl, accented by rhinestones and full of bad car jokes ("How do you like my headlights?").


Tickets at TicketsWest.com, area King Soopers and
the Denver Civic Theatre's box office: 303-309-3773

Reyna Von Vett and Hell's Belles

in "Leadville or BUST!"
at the Denver Civic Theatre

Opening Friday, March 13th, 2009
Thru May 31st

Thursday - Saturday nights at 7PM
Sunday Matinee at 2PM

More information:

Denver's Premier Burlesque troupe, Burlesque As It Was,
every weekend in the BLACK BOX BURLESQUE
at the Denver Civic Theatre

Opening Friday, March 13th
Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm

More information: