Review: DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY at Kennedy Center

Southern fried hoot and shopping opportunity

By: May. 12, 2024
Review: DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY at Kennedy Center
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Entering “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” at the Kennedy Center, you aren’t handed a program, you are handed a Tupperware catalog — and an order form, if you please. 

Because this is not only a nostalgic send-up of brightly-colored 1950s vintage consumer culture and Southern sass, it is an actual Tupperware Party. Amid the wisecracks, made-up personal stories and trailer park travails, there is some serious selling going on, not of vintage pieces but of the up-to-date kitchen conveniences that actually do seem tempting  — even in a world where most everybody already has a drawer overflowing with mismatched reusable take-out containers. 

And therein is a genius funding mechanism that theaters on financial brink might want to consider. 

“Dixie’s Tupperware Party” has its roots 20 years ago as a Fringe Festival production — which may make its 95-minute theatrical production seem a little long. But its creator and star Kris Andersson, in the title role, is a hoot from start to finish, a sharp talent who can respond quickly with a crowd keen to participate.

So right from the beginning she finds a villain in the front row (a man, who can be counted on to think that Tupperware is only about bowls) and a heroine in the seats who can smile through adversity and stare down the nay-sayers with gumption.

There is a bit of seriousness at the core of the sparkling monologue. Dixie champions the woman who first had the idea of taking resealable containers from the shelves to individual parties, which can not only better demonstrate all the features, but can help foster a community among neighbors who have long since gone to solitary internet scrolling to shop. 

That pioneer has a name that’s even more memorable (though less salacious) than Dixie Longate — Brownie Wise — and her picture is flashed a few times in a slide behind Dixie’s table. To that empowerment testimonial, there’s also a quieter speech about domestic abuse and how everybody matters that is such a sudden change of tone you may need scan the catalogue for an item to deal with the whiplash. 

And if the bread and butter of Tupperware is still the resealable containers, the essence of Dixie’s show are the sassy cracks and often ribald humor that seems spontaneous even when it may not be. It’s like the QVC show you’d want to seek out specially every week. 

Everyone in the audience seemed in on the joke; Washington is a progressive enough place that nobody would be rattled by a drag show in the Family Theatre. As funny as Dixie’s schtick is, with her high hair and gingham hausfrau getup, it really raises the fizz when she opens the floor to questions and “Tupper-monials.” 

They range from sincere product inquiries to family remembrances and Dixie is great at responding, just as she is in her recurring pronunciation of things like “ernge” for “orange” or in quickly mumbling drawl when she wants to rush through details. 

Whether she accomplished a lot of sales, well, she ends by running up the stairs to the exit, where she can place herself in front of the order table, where she was seen giving more hugs than receipts, at least at first.

With a nice four-week run at the Kennedy Center, she has plenty of time to make a killing in D.C.

Running time: 95 minutes, no intermission.

Photo credit: Kris Andersson as Dixie Longate. Courtesy of The Overture Center

“Dixie’s Tupperware Party” runs through June 2 at the Family Theatre at the Kennedy center enter for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW. Information online


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