An often ignored consequence of love is that the heart grows weary and therefore pines for something else, something different. What’s Love, the Valentine’s Day production powered by erotically charged art in years past, has succumbed to such unsuppressed desires.
The result, a collaboration between What’s Love and Trustus Theatre, is “Henderson Bros. Burlesque,” a performance produced by Chad Henderson and Terrance Henderson that will be staged tonight at 701 Whaley.
What’s Love has earned a reputation of shocking while entertaining. Terrance Henderson said the burlesque show will possess the essence of What’s Love, but it will be what he calls an “all-skate event,” which is to say there is something for everybody.
“We have an opportunity with the kind of production that we’re doing to keep the same kind of adult, sexy vibe, but I think the production value of the show – being a show, not an open forum – is already going to set a whole different kind of pace,” Terrance Henderson said. “It’s all filtered through the same aesthetic.”
Chad Henderson, who is not related, said he and Terrance Henderson had been talking about producing a burlesque show for a couple of years.
“I think it’s the right forum because we certainly want to continue this,” said Chad Henderson, who added he has received an e-mail from a traveling burlesque troupe that wants to perform in the city in March.
Not that they’re looking that far ahead, because, first they must get through tonight.
“I certainly would love to see another happen before summer is up,” Chad Henderson said. “I think it can start to become more of an invitational thing where you get to see larger acts come through Columbia because there is a group that will support that.”
The burlesque show (there are two performances, at 8 and 10 p.m.) is just one of the evening’s events at 701. The doors open at 6 p.m. for guests to be entertained in the Side Door Lounge by, among other things, John Tudor’s magic, a strong man and art by Whitney LeJeune and Lyon Hill. Molly Harrell and Billy Guess, two longtime What’s Love collaborators, will contribute designs to the lounge, Chad Henderson said.
Larry Hembree, as one of his characters, Loreen DeMint, will host Sacred Speed Dating at 711 Whaley, the building used for the Saturday-morning farmer’s market. Upstairs in 701’s Olympia Room, filmmaker Wade Sellers will set up a peep show. There will be a structure with viewing windows for the curious to watch dancers.
Also, Kristian Niemi, owner of Rosso Trattoria Italia, will serve two 24-seat four-course Valentine’s dinners before the show in Loft 201 by Rosso. (Seating for the dinner costs $99 per person, which includes the burlesque show.)
Burlesque performances just might shimmy their way into a more prominent place on the local entertainment calendar. Earlier this month, Pretty Things Peepshow, a vintage-style burlesque sideshow, performed at New Brookland Tavern.
Tonight’s burlesque show is just more than an hour long. There will be a seven-piece live band, directed by Jeremy Polley, playing songs by Prince, Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera.
As the Henderson duo discussed the show, performers including local actor Hunter Boyle who, as Bumbleclap McGee, will be the show’s vaudeville comic relief, arrived at 701 for a Sunday evening rehearsal.
“I think people were looking for the forum to delve into these things,” said Terrance Henderson who, as Nauti Boogie, will be the MC. He also choreographed the ensemble pieces.
Even if the male pole dancer, something one doesn’t see regularly, is injured, there will be still be titillating moments.
“A lot of it’s going to come from the details,” Chad Henderson said. “What you’re going to be shocked by is seeing real dance numbers that are still in the vein of burlesque.”
The audience is the show’s missing character, and the Hendersons are anticipating – frankly, encouraging – boisterous interaction. Yell, talk, shout.
“It can’t really be burlesque without it,” Chad Henderson said. “You are encouraged to get out of your seat.”
Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.