Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them: Hotsy Totsy Burlesque's Tribute to Harry Potter
Burlesque: an absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody. A variety show, typically including striptease.
If you've always wanted to experience Burlesque, you should start with New York's resident best: Hotsy Totsy Burlesque. I attended "Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them - Hotsy Totsy's Tribute to Harry Potter and Newt Scamander" at the lush and venerable Slipper Room.
Just one of Hotsy Totsy's many thematic "tribute" shows can satisfy that giggling nerd/ voyeur in all of us, because who amongst us can resist someone toying with the sacred ground of our pop culture, when the timeless toys are pasties, g-strings, and a company of incredibly studied performers who take-it-off-as-you-urge-them-on?
And, as there are many tribute editions to choose from, you'll probably get hooked in much the same way you've embraced the blockbuster series they're commandeering, like Potter, Star Trek and Dr. Who. They call it Nerdlesque, and yes, have you ever considered that the irreverence of a Dalek doing a strip tease might be as naughty as it is outrageous?
Right around now, you should be thinking, "OMG, I know who I can give this to for their birthday!" In the case of the Harry Potter tribute, and by way of describing this extremely well-crafted experience, please linger on this cast list the producers provided, and feel the tingle begin:
Gogo: Porpentina Goldstein - Velvetina Taylor
Kitten: Sorting Hat - Raina Bow
Act 1: Luna Lovegood - Luna Lee
Act 2: Moaning Myrtle - Minnie D'Moocha
Act 3: Dobby the House Elf - Fem Appeal,
Act 4: Professor Snape - Mary Cyn
Act 5: Cherry Pitz as self
Act 6: Harry Potter - Bimini Cricket
Act 7: Horny Hammer Head - Corvette LeFace
I call your attention to Act 4. Yes, not only did our scowlingly divine Snape turn in an erotic dominatrix performance, seducing young Potter (the sex pixie, Ms. Bimini Cricket of Act 6) but the ominous Mary Cyn proved her Snape an impressive fellatiologist busting tongue tricks on Harry's prop wand.
If there now exists a word for simultaneously gasping, laughing, cheering and applauding, the audience certainly coined it in that moment. It's patently risqué folks, which I, for one, appreciate when so little else seems to be, anymore. This is organic underground New York at its best.
And that's not even the best part of the evening. Our hostess shedding the most-est for the evening was Ms. Cherry Pitz (she was accessorized by a very game Newt Scamander, who made for a very wry and quick complementary sidekick). A combination of willowy Audrey from "Little Shop of Horrors," and the high IQ/low humor of Elvira, Pitz introduced each act with aplomb, affection and eyebrow raising insights of the best of emcees.
Act 5 found our Pitz peeling off Professor McGonagall's robes and grimacing her way through a mug of Bertie Botts (yes, she shares) and twirled her tassles when she finally got a good one. Pitz is luminous, and laughs the audience into bed with her.
I caught up with her as the civilian and co-producer of HT, Cyndi Freeman, and asked her how Nerdlesque feeds her aesthetic.
"With Hotsy Totsy, all of the performers come from many backgrounds. It's the perfect alchemy of theater, comedy and burlesque," said Freeman. "I love burlesque because it's a saucy celebration of sexuality, and with Nerdlesque, also everything I love."
All-encompassing in its nod to vaudeville, the show is high on craft. And while it carries history's torch of old school stage entertainment, Hotsy Totsy slips in a message for our times, that "the geek shall inherit the earth."