“Burlesco DiVino: Wine In Rome” Ready To Enchant Patrons At The Triple Door

Burlesco DiVino: Wine in Rome Lily Verlaine

Who needs Federico Fellini when you have Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann?  When bacchanalia beckons, razzle dazzle follows and “Burlesco DiVino: Wine In Rome” takes the stage.

Their newest spectacle of ecdysiastic (Can you say “striptease?) pageantry,” is a orgasmic celebration of wine, liberation, beauty, and frivolity in The Eternal City. The first and only burlesque production commissioned by The Triple Door, “Burlesco DiVino” takes the audience on a wild trip across Rome in 1963 with American choreographer Babs Lawson and her friend, Italian musician Lanzo Travaglio, as they attempt to create a work of avant-garde dance for a wealthy widow.

After disappointing their widowed patron Donatella Chianti with a work of avant-garde dance, Babs and Lanzo are in over their heads. With a deadline looming and Babs’ visa on the line, they search for inspiration in the streets, at a wild party, and get a morning after they’ll never forget, thanks to a lot of wine and a little advice from feminist icon Helen Gurley Brown. They must risk failure to charm the citizens of Rome and lift Donatella out of her grief.

Burlesco DiVino: Wine in Rome Vespa Girl

Vespa-girl in Burlesco DiVino: Wine In Rome (Photo by Angela Sterling)

Verlaine’s creation mixes artistic genres with the let-it-all-hang-out spirit of theatrical burlesque. Where everyone is welcome to be a voyeur.

Inspired by the great costume epics “Quo Vadis” and “Satyricon,” and the mid-century visions of “Rome La Dolce Vita” and “Roman Holiday,” this spree of a show mixes classical music, jazz, and Italian go-go rock with the traditional music of ancient Rome. Priestesses, paparazzi, Vespa-girls, fire dancers, and fashionistas all take their turn in the spotlight as the ensemble weaves belly dance, go-go, and ballet with comedy, striptease, glamour, and song.

The cast of 18 includes notable performers such as Whim W’Him’s Tory Peil and House of Verlaine company member Dreamy Tangerine.

Lily Verlaine is the great niece of Ida Verlaine, who made her debut in Henry Miller’s “Sexus: The Rosy Crucifixion” and played burlesque stages to lascivious acclaim in the Upper Midwest. Young Lily made her stage debut at age four in the role of “Skunk With Great Personality.”  Inspired by her great aunt’s art of seduction and tempestuous temperament, Lily charted her destiny. Although she studied ballet, her libertine personality was more suited to burlesque.

At age eight, Jasper McCann’s singing talent was discovered by his elementary teacher. He was soon hooked on the Duke Ellington’s jazz, Count Basie’s swing blues, and saxophonist Charlie Parker. McCann crooned his way through the Vaudeville house of the Midwest and Mid-South, where he developed his quick wit and writing skills by dealing with burlesque-show hecklers.

Verlaine and McCann met accidentally as a result of an accident. They were in the smoking lounge of a hospital awaiting triage.  McCann lit Verlaine’s cigarette, and the rest is burlesque history. Together they found what Fellini would describe as “the passion of life.” Or would he say “the sweet life”– La Dolce Vita?

“Burlesco DiVino: Wine In Rome” runs Sep 21-23 at The Triple Door; Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 pm, Friday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m. & 10:30pm, and Saturday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. & 10:30pm at the Triple Door; tickets $35-$50, Box Office 206-838-4333 or TheTripleDoor.net

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About Starla Smith

Starla Smith is a career journalist, writing features for such publications as The New Yorker, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily News, The Des Moines Register, Vibe and a prize-winning Gannett Newspaper. She helped launch Theater Week Magazine and eventually became its publisher. As a regular contributor to Playbill, her interviews and photos were featured in Playbill and Playbill-on-line. Smith was featured in the New York Times "Style" section for her "Word Portraits," specialized tributes, speeches, and presentation profiles. And she covered theater and features for City Search, Digital City, and the Tena Duberry WOW! Radio show. She previously served as astrology guru for Out Magazine, and she hastens to assure her readers that "Starla" is indeed her real name.

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