Behind The Velvet Curtain – A Burlesque Affair!
Lacy bustiers, a flirtatious male hula artist, a drag queen with a magnificent voice and an emcee who was half man, half woman. These acts are not your typical entertainment for a corporate event, and yet they were perfect for an outrageous and highly entertaining burlesque theater event for our client!
One of our favorite annual events, Destination South has collaborated with our client on this party for many years. By bringing together a number of individual performers and original entertainment experiences we wove a seamless and greatly engaging production into the event’s catering, décor, audio-visual and venue elements.
Atlanta’s quirky antique store and unique art gallery, Paris on Ponce, was selected as this year’s event location. As 200 guests arrived at this peculiar looking venue we’re sure that they wondered what kind of an event awaited them (just what we were going for).
Upon arrival, guests were led indoors and through a treasure trove of eclectic curiosities to the back room where they found a seductively rich burlesque theater. Our unique emcee Ivy Allen was half man, half woman with both mustache and a fluttering hem. With theatrics and wit, he lured the audience into the Parisian nightlife of yesteryear as he introduced them to the characters that inhabit the streets of Montmartre and what transpires when they cross paths in the night…
First there appeared Arianna Paris, the royalty of the show girl circuit. Howie the Great played the quintessential magician, out to make a quick franc with sleight of hand. Next came sexy young Paul the Hooper. And then during the “juggling” act the story intensified. Objects from all over were manipulated as guests laughed through the telling of this tale. A plate, a shoe, a struggle, a ruse. Whom else would they meet on this curious journey?
The DJ struck up as guests took a break from the theater to wander around the intriguing space. Those inquisitive enough to check the darker corners of the room were rewarded by our side shows. Guests enjoyed the popular millinery stand where they decorated berets with fashionable accessories of lace, sequins and ribbons. The adventurous had their futures read from their very own lipstick print and tarot cards. A caricaturist created portraits with Parisian flair, and the magician strolled through the area charming guests with card tricks using his most charismatic French accent.
Once guests had been introduced to the Montmartre scene, Act Two delved into their tales of love and woe. It began with striking dancers taking a turn at the tango to a rendition of the “Last Tango in Paris”. In the Love Triangle Fan Dance, dancers flirted and fought over a cellist, whirling around him and performing acrobatics on the aerial lyra as they sought his affections. Finally, the story came full circle as the audience again met the painter and his living art, who had briefly appeared on stage at the beginning of the nights’ performances. The painter discovered that his muse was also his masterpiece. To conclude, the whole show culminated in a dynamic and energetic hooping performance.
But this wasn’t just a one-way cabaret. Once the show was complete, it was time for guests themselves to take the stage. A lip-sync competition was opened by our client, the host, and was followed by a highly entertaining hour revealing some surprising talents. Enticed by the fun on stage, some of the cast members joined guests to dance and lip sync together, with participants vying for hotel stay prizes based on audience applause.
In conceptualizing this event our team was inspired by movies such as Moulin Rouge, Cabaret, and Chicago and we incorporated that into the design and decor of the environment.
While everything about this event screamed “Ooh la la,” the stars of the show were most definitely the entertainers – both those on stage who worked hard to harmonize their own acts with the other cast members, and the off-stage talent, who played a vital part in the interaction with guests. We called upon local partners, L.E.D. (Luminosity Entertainment Division) and Absolute Entertainment to collaborate with and make our client’s vision a reality! Yes, unlike some corporate events, we saw a few guests’ eyes widen. They couldn’t quite believe it…. it was so funny and so fanciful, they just had to laugh. Every component – sound, light, costumes, makeup, movement, storyline – worked so well together that guests hardly believed the show had been created for that night only.
Our creative approach to this event was based on years of event experience, knowledge of this audience, event history, and faith in our vendors. It paid off as a triumph for our client, and a night their guests will never forget. Guests left the party astonished, delighted and with a shared experience that would carry them into the next business year and beyond!