Straight from a Mobile, Ala., trailer park and dressed like a truckstop diner waitress, drag queen Dixie Longate hosts the funniest Tupperware party you will ever attend. Wrapped in a nearly two-hour sales pitch of sex, stereotypes and comedy, Dixie's Tupperware Party, currently showing at the Straz Center's Jaeb Theater through Sunday, features Longate, the alter-ego of Kris Andersson, in an air-tight theatrical performance that also serves as a real Tupperware party.
Behind her trademark fire engine red hair and rapid cadence infused with a Southern accent, lies perhaps the most clever and entertaining Tupperware lady since the plastic storage container's inception in 1946. From the Rectangular Cake Taker (good for cakes, cupcakes and Jell-O shots), to the spill proof Tupperware Tumbler with Drip-Less Straw Seal she toted filled with red wine, to the Square Pick-A-Deli Container that comes with its own weapon — Dixie will make you want what she's selling.
The show is mostly scripted, but that doesn't impede Dixie's witty improv with audience antics. Anyone seated near the stage, especially men, were lured into Dixie's shenanigans. On Tuesday night, Dixie singled out Aaron, a man in the front row, whom she repeatedly picked on and eventually asked on stage to demonstrate a Tupperware can opener. When flustered with the tricky dynamics of the can opener and a hooting audience, Aaron said ,"This is women's work." To which Dixie quickly whipped, "Good thing, because if it was man's work, you'd obviously starve." Aaron got to keep the can, but he won't ever forget how to use that can opener.
Dixie's backstory goes something like this: She's a single mom of three who began selling Tupperware in 2001 after being released from jail and told to get a job by her parole officer in order to get her kids back. The officer gifted her a fake crystal Tupperware bowl, which became the iconic centerpiece for her journey to becoming America's No. 1 Personal Seller of Tupperware. In 2007, she took her unique party on tour and hasn't looked back.
Her journey, at times, pays homage to Brownie Wise, the pioneer (and Dixie's seeming idol) of the Tupperware brand's success in the post-WWII era. Like the motivational moment Dixie had when she delivered an inspirational message (stemming from Wise) about the ripple effect, and how one decision can change a life and make a difference.
That sentiment soon shrunk, just like her Flat Out collapsible bowls, when she orchestrated a ball toss and lid rimming competition (oh, the innuendos) between four women as her grand finale.
As she offers life lessons and outrageous alternative-use suggestions for Tupperware, Dixie sticks to her boisterous character. Some of the risque material might make you blush, but you will definitely laugh. And, no pressure, you don't have to buy anything — though don't be surprised if you do.
Stephanie Bolling can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3408.