In the wings | with John Fleming

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'Dixie's Tupperware Party' is bowls of fun

Dixie Longate bills herself as a trailer park hussy from Alabama who got into throwing Tupperware parties on the advice of her parole officer. Now she is Tupperware's top salesperson, thanks to Dixie's Tupperware Party, scripted and performed by her alter ego, Kris Andersson, in drag. She's doing her thing at Ruth Eckerd Hall's cozy Murray Studio Theatre this week.

Is your audience mostly women?

You'd be surprised. It definitely favors women, but we get a real good group of guys too. And not all of them are homosexuals. Some of them are, but that's not my place. … The Lord will judge. I'm just here to do a Tupperware party.

I hear you do have a tremendous gay following.

Gay people do seem to like plastic food storage containers, I'm not sure why. Maybe they use them at their big dance parties, or whatever they have.

Your press material says you're the top Tupperware salesperson. That's actually true?

It's actually true. They do a big convention in August in Orlando, and as of this past August, I was the No. 1 personal seller of Tupperware in the U.S. and Canada. I sold $229,000 worth of Tupperware in the last fiscal year. Isn't that insane?

What's the favorite product?

I have these bowls that collapse down, that store flat, that I just love. I think they're the smartest things in the world. They're called Flat Outs. You know when you're living in a small trailer, or you've got to downsize because of the economy, what these bowls do is collapse down from, say, a four-cup bowl to completely flat. You can stick it anywhere.

How cool is Tupperware with you? Let's face it, you're pretty unorthodox.

I have to tell you, they have been so kind. Obviously they give me permission to do this whole thing. I think their philosophy is that it's a party. They give you the basic business model, and then it's like, you go, girl, do whatever you want, as long as you're selling Tupperware.

I gather the show can get risque.

Well, when I first started selling Tupperware, I didn't realize all the pieces were for the kitchen. I thought they were for the bedroom. Like, I didn't realize that thing is actually a colander. I had an old Fourth of July tablecloth, and I cut around the grease stains and made myself a dress. I'm a whiz on the sewing machine. Everybody says I have nice legs, so I just wanted to show them off. You know what happens. Some of the menfolk come to the Tupperware party, and they're like, Lord, she's pretty. I'll buy anything you tell me to. Well, I've got a bowl set for them.

You remind me a little of Dame Edna.

Someone in a New York paper wrote that I was the downtown Dame Edna, which I thought was so sweet. I've never met Dame Edna, but I know she's got purple rinse on her hair. Someone should tell her.

John Fleming can be reached at fleming@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8716.

Opera on the radio kicks off season on Saturday

It seems positively quaint in these days of high-definition simulcasts of Metropolitan Opera performances in movie theaters, but the company's venerable series of radio broadcasts continues. The 78th season of the Met's Saturday matinee broadcasts gets under way with Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, starring Susan Graham and Marcello Giordani and conducted by James Levine. It airs at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on WUSF-FM 89.7. Highlights of the season include conductor Daniel Barenboim making his Met debut in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde Dec. 6; Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson in Massenet's Thais Dec. 20; Placido Domingo in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur Feb. 21; and Levine conducting the four segments of Wagner's Ring cycle March 28-April 25.

Neighborhood arts

Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center has received the Bank of America Charitable Foundation's Neighborhood Builder Award, which comes with a $200,000 grant. The center plans to use the money to expand school and community arts education programs through its Patel Conservatory for the Performing Arts.

Stage benefits

American Stage's late-night performances of The Vagina Monologues, featuring local luminaries, raised $1,500 for the YWCA in St. Petersburg. The next late-night show is The SantaLand Diaries, starring Brian Shea, right, Dec. 2-28. On Monday, the theater hosts a concert for the Suncoast AIDS Theatre Project commemoration of World AIDS Day. It features Sharon Scott, Loren Wood, Julie Rowe, Matt McGee, T. Scott Wooten, Carolyn Zaput, Eric Davis, Jorge Acosta and other performers. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m. Pay what you can. (727) 823-7529 (PLAY).

If you go

8 chances to see it

Dixie's Tupperware Party opens tonight and runs through Saturday at Murray Studio Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. 8 p.m. today-Thursday; 2 and 8 p.m. Friday; 1, 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday. $35. (727) 791-7400; rutheckerdhall.com.

'Dixie's Tupperware Party' is bowls of fun 11/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 6:51pm]

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