Pink feathers, gloves, sequins and lace. Women in dangerously high heels, live music and comedy. Strip teases, trapeze stunts and lots of drama.
These are all the hallmarks of The Girlie Show: Bigtop Burlesque, which opens a nearly two-week run at the Honey Pot in Ybor City on Wednesday.
That creator and director Jamieson Lindenburg, 28, calls his show "burlesque with a circus twist" is no surprise. Not if you know he's a performer on a six-month break from Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian theater juggernaut that dramatically mixes music, street entertainment and circus acts. He has been a singer with Cirque since 2008 with a central role in Quidam, following theater school in New York.
The burlesque? That's Lindenburg's own obsession with the performance art form he wants to help preserve. Burlesque has roots in Victorian England but was popularized in America in the mid-19th century. He staged earlier burlesque shows at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, beginning in 2007.
"Burlesque is about celebrating women who want liberation, while incorporating comedy. It's about accepting everyone," said Lindenburg, a 2003 graduate of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg. "It also focuses on portraying confidence."
The Girlie Show, recommended for people 18 and older, runs about 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission and features two acts with a cast of 12 and a seven-piece band. On Friday and Saturday night performances, ticket holders will be able stay after the show for the Honey Pot's general activities and to possibly meet with the performers.
For Girlie Show, Lindenburg has collaborated with other Gibbs graduates who have since become professional artists and also brought in other performers from Cirque. Lindenburg sees the show as a "homecoming" and a way to say thanks to those at Gibbs and other locals in the theater community for nurturing young artists. Among the cast are several women with Tampa Bay roots including Ann Cornelius, Chelsea Meredith, Katie "James" Mleczko and Alexia Protopapadakis.
Krystal Blais is a senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.