4/24/13

Burlesque in a New Light

Nathan Lane is one of those actors whom I would go see in any show, ever, period. He's amazing, and his performance in Lincoln Center Theater's newest show, The Nance, is no exception.


The show takes place in New York City in the 1930s, when burlesque impresarios welcomed the hilarious comics and musical parodies of vaudeville to their decidedly lowbrow niche. A headliner called "the nance" was a stereotypically camp homosexual and master of comic double entendre - usually played by a straight man. In The Nance, Nathan Lane plays Chauncey, the decidedly funny burlesque performer yet rather melancholic middle aged man dealing with a difficult double life. Though the show deals with an intense and somewhat depressing period in our society's past, it will have you laughing out loud and wishing this kind of  burlesque was still a thing.

Directed by 3-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien, The Nance also showcases the wonderfully raw and honest Johnny Orsini, who is making his Broadway debut playing Chauncey's lover Ned, Lewis J. Stadlen excellently playing the head performer Efram, and the spunky trio of Cady Huffman, Jenni Barber and AndrĂ©a Burns, who play the strippers.

Before the show, I was invited to a buzzmaker event at The Strip House, honestly one of the better pre-theater events I've been to. We were welcomed to the lush venue bedecked in red banquettes and photographs of 1930s burlesque stars (how apropos!)  with a signature Nance-inspired cocktail akin to a passionfruit and orange martini. The passed hors d'oeuvres were excellent, and I particularly enjoyed the crispy shrimp and the bacon and Stilton popovers.


The Nance Cocktail

Spicy Tuna and Cucumber

Golden Beet Rounds

Crispy Shrimp

Crabcakes

Bacon and Stilton Popovers
Steak Crostini

Stomachs full and thirsts quenched, we stuck around for the raffle, though I didn't win anything (my juju must be off), but I did go home with a Nance logo shot glass, a Mac lipstick in a dark and mischievous shade of red called Dubonnet, and delicious homemade potato chips and white chocolate, pistachio and cranberry fudge from Joseph Cuccia Catering.

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