TheatreLab and Deanna Danger premiere new jazz/burlesque series on Saturday
“Butchertown Burlesque” will feature a live jazz band, a dance floor, and performances from Danger, fellow RVA performer Lula Houp-Garou and Newport News-based dancer Jo’Rie Tigerlily.
Audience members will be taken back to a time when speakeasies were all the rage and the foul smell of butcher shops lingered in the air. The performance takes place in the olden days of the “Butchertown” district of Richmond, an area where the fearsome boy gang the “Butchertown Cats” ruled and terrorized its community.
This story of the “Butchertown Cats” is not completely fiction. Danger found her inspiration in an article highlighting a book written by former University of Richmond professor Harry M. Ward. His book “Children of the Streets of Richmond, 1865-1920” tells stories of the grim history of Richmond youth.
“I was looking for something historical Richmond for the name, something that harkened back to the speakeasies and red light districts of RVA,” Danger said. “I had this article saved from Style Weekly that talked about boy gangs, and the name Butchertown Cats really stuck out for me.”
According to the article, the Butchertown Cats were a greatly feared boy gang whose turf covered parts of Churchill and Shockoe Bottom. This area, “Butchertown”, hosted many brothels and and butcher houses.
The series will be performed to all live music spanning the the 1920s-40s courtesy of the Butchertown Cats Orchestra. Attendees are required to dress in vintage or cocktail attire to complete the experience.
Danger has been planning to do a live classic jazz and burlesque show for a long time. When TheatreLAB approached her last summer she new that The Basement would be the perfect opportunity to bring her vision to life.
“It was a matter of finding the right venue and finding the right band,” Danger said. “Luckily both of those things fell into my lap.”
Danger has been dancing since she was three-years-old, practicing in various forms of dance. She moved into the world of burlesque eight years ago. Based in Richmond, Danger has toured all around the United States. She has been seen on various stages and venues around Richmond such as The Byrd Theatre, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Richmond CenterStage.
Tickets for TheatreLab’s “Butchertown Burlesque” on Saturday June 11th are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. VIP tickets will be available for pre-sale at $25. VIP ticket packages come with prime seating, a signed show poster, and two free raffle tickets. Purchase yours here. The show starts at 8 pm.
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