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Hotsy Totsy Burlesque's Tribute to The Muppets

by Daniel Neiden
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Jan 18, 2017
Hotsy Totsy Burlesque's Tribute to The Muppets

Hi ho! Wokka Wokka! Bork Bork Bork! I confess, I couldn't wait to see "The Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Show's Tribute to The Muppets" at The Slipper Room, where they've run their standing-room-only burlesque installments over the last three years.

Even though my own imagination ran wild in depraved anticipation of what they would get away with, from previous romps with iconic figures conjured by Stephen King, George Lucas, and J. K. Rowling, I was happily surprised, as Hotsy made sex puppets of us all.

Jim Henson's genius was tributed; the Slipper was packed, the hoots were hollering, and the show kicked up its heels with sly go-go work by Le Grand Chaton, who, as Miss Piggy, conquered us with a three-song set of comic/sensual gyrations.

We met our hosts, Kermit the (puppet) Frog, voiced remarkably by Andy Ross; and kid fave, Abby Cadabby; channeled to a "different" channel entirely, by the bubbly, drop-dead gorgeous Ms. Cherry Pitz. Both were quickly heckled by Statler and Waldorf (an aged and powdered Cubby Hall and Matt Knife) delivering a relentless dressing down from the cheap seats, that ended up complementing the constant UNdressing, beautifully.

The performance "kitten," cleaning the stage, setting everyone's props was Hotsy veteran, Hard Corey, channeling Oscar the Grouch down to his fur-covered feet. Clara Coquette, as Beaker, was mixing foggy potions and peeling down, to appreciative cheers, though a couple of science nerds gave a misanthropic "who-hoo" to the dry ice potions, but what can you do?

Next came Petit Renard, cooking up trouble as a certain Swedish Chef. If you describe food as "orgasmic," Renard's gender-bendy Muppet Chef will consummate your consume: All chef's hat, walrus mustache, gloves, heels and no trousers, her well-crafted turn made for a steamy stare-down between the audience and whatever she wanted us to see.

Ever heard of Gogo Gadget? Google and find a true burlesque stripper who presented himself as "Beaker's Experiment." An alluring dancer and generous spirit, this audience favorite stripped to an insane soundtrack of music mashups that had everyone clapping along until Gadget veritably laughed us into bed.

Bimini Cricket put the "bare" into lovable, faithful Fozzy Bear. A performer who leaves us staring, un-blinking, every mouth agape, curvy Cricket sure did wrestle that fur off her bear costume, in an expert peek-a-boo of a dance that paid off in a way YouTube can never match. (Note: This is a boatload of live entertainment for your buck. Just sayin').

Next up, if one thinks past the 'Muppet Show," Fraggle Rock is just around the cuddly corner, and Rosey La Rouge gave us our Frag-fave "Red" seducing us with images we blush at, just by pairing them to the original cherished kid show.

Get ready: Statler and Waldorf stripped down to their tighty whiteys and danced for us (yup) but their balls-out dance was, erm... just that. See, they had these ball-like springy objects in their shorts, and just let 'em... anyway, you shoulda heard just what I seen. It was the biggest hands-over-mouth laugh of the night! Year of the Cock, indeed.

Hotsy Totsy's hilarious tribute scripts are crafted in an end-of-adult-summer-camp-pageant kind of way. Collaborative writers Cyndi Freeman (Cherry Pitz), Handsome Brad Lawrence, and Joe The Shark (with guest writers Andy Ross, and Matt Knife and Cubby Hall) throw lots of plot twists, but pull everyone's G-strings out of harm's way: Kermit survived an over-zealous censor, and even got tassels pinned on by Ms. Pitz.

The night's pre-show buzz was whether or not Pitz would dance, as Hotsy sometimes loads up the bill and she steps aside. Well, Pitz peeled off her Abby Cadabby costume (as Kermit sang the 1939 Harburg/Arlen hit, "Lydia The Tattooed Lady,") revealing a serpentine roadmap of fresh tats, and beguiled the entire room.

Cherry Pitz stops us in our tracks, in that odd way where you hear yourself cheering, but aren't sure it's really you, and it is, and was, the most sensational inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational evening of live entertainment. On February 2, Hotsy will tribute The Ladies of Disney. So, someday soon, your prince may come. Wokka Wokka.

Hotsy Totsy usually performs every second Thursday at The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard St, in NYC. For tickets or information, visit www.slipperroom.com or www.hotsytotsyburlesque.com

Daniel Neiden is a writer and composer who develops socially conscious theater projects.


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