In the very same neighborhood, in the 1940’s, right after the U.S. Prohibition turned Montreal into a city of all sins, the city was titillated by Lili St. Cyr, her famous on-stage bubble bath and many other performers at the Gayety Theatre (now the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde). Brutally repressed in the following decades by the clergy and the police morality brigades, the trend died down.
Here we are, 70 years later, to see the Burlesque revival hit the Quartier des Spectacles, driven by Scarlett James, the woman behind the Grand Burlesque Show since the first edition. A major actress in bringing back the genre in the very same spot where Montrealers saw it come to life during the last century, James is also at the head of The Montreal Burlesque Festival which takes place in September and highlights the Burlesque Month.
This year’s main event, Burlesque Stories, promises to feature circus numbers, music skits and, of course, its fair-share of (strip)tease, all wrapped up in a phenomenal dose of glamour, sequins and feathers. The same show will be presented on all three nights, yet the tickets packages vary from “first come, first served” tickets ($44 per person) to a whole weekend bundle including a night at Hotel Zero 1, VIP seats, champagne and an autographed copy of the book featuring Miss James ($384 for a two-person package). The show is traditionally presented in both English and French, so you don’t have to fear missing on the action!
All benefits from the Grand Burlesque Show’s opening night of March 21 st will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society as a tribute to “M” (a.k.a. Emily Gair), one of the performer to be seen on the show and who successfully won her battle against cancer. M is featured in her very own part, titled Sexy Inspiration, which she said she created based on her own experience and as a way to show that “turning darkness into light and beauty” is possible, even while having to struggle with a such a terrible sickness.
Yes, there will be pasties, hips shakes and glitter. Fancy corsets and long gloves too, as you probably expect. But beyond the focus on satire, game and seduction, the Grand Burlesque Show’s performers is expected to come in a variety of body types, based on the past editions, which is truly refreshing considering the very strict standard of beauty currently promoted by a lot of medias. Hopefully, this year’s edition will not be an exception. Female impersonators are also to be expected, broadening the spectrum of entertainers to be seen on stage.
Next weekend, Montreal’s former Red Light district promises to shine in all its past glory. Ladies, wake up the Dita Von Teese sleeping in you and gentlemen, put on your best suits and hats and treat yourself with a night of quality entertainment and Burlesque Stories!
For more information:
Official Website & tickets: