I was witness to something that will probably never be seen ever again. Only about 100 people in a theater in New York saw what went down. Rhinestone Burlesque did their very last show of Good Idea/Bad Idea, Animaniacs Burlesque, and in attendance was Rob Paulsen, voice of Yakko Warner. A superfan in line next to me spotted writer Peter Hastings and voice director Andrea Romano in line, and it turned out that I sat right next to them during the show.
The format of the show was wildly different than any burlesque I’ve seen. Instead of a performer doing a character, stripping (for lack of a better word) , and then the announcer coming out and introducing each act, it was a consistent show, almost like an off broadway play, with a story interspersed with burlesque performances. There were very long periods where there was no stripping going on, just a story with lots of well-written jokes. There were long musical numbers, such as Rita’s song, which was very well sung in the style of Bernadette Peters. There was a LIVE band doing some really amazing and complex numbers, and they interacted a little with the show and improvised bits as well. There was a foley artist on stage providing sound effects for everything and he was part of the act and was great, too. This was a full-on production.
This was the most surreal and well played out burlesque show I’ve ever seen. The show was about 2.5 hours long. Highlights include:
- stripping Dot Warner singing ‘I’m Cute’
- stripping Chicken Boo with full male frontal nudity (completely hilarious, totally surreal, and shocking) while singing an opera… yes, all with ‘bawk bawk baaawwwk’
- Rob Paulsen singing the universe song, the cheese song (with nearly nude performers with cheese hats), and the countries of the world song.
- Peter Hastings winning the raffle containing the Animaniacs DVD with Rob Paulsen’s autograph (what’s he going to do with it?)
- When Peter admitted to being a producer/writer for the show, all these almost nude women just jumped on him, grabbed at him, everything. They completely tried to dog pile on him, and he had a time trying to get away (who knows why) and his teenage companion (I assume was his son) put his hands over his face as if he wanted to die of embarrassment.
- After intermission, the band came out in their underwear and Rob Paulsen says loudly “Something for you, Andrea!”
- Wakko taking forever to take her clothes off because she had SO many props stuffed in her underwear.
- Yakko stripping to the countries of the world song.
- It’s Mime Time, miming a first date, already almost nude and yet miming taking her clothes off as a burlesque dancer.
- Every time Slappy Squirrel was on stage.
- Dot’s Poetry Corner: “What’s the difference between a pile of dead babies and a Cadillac? I didn’t lose my virginity in a Cadillac”.
- This one time I saw Randy Beaman’s mom feeding her dog some peanut butter…
- I think so Brain, but isn’t this just high concept fan fiction?
- Rob Paulsen sneaking in a “cowabunga!”
All of the performers hit their characters dead-on, and were all incredible with their stage presence, comic timing, and general performance. Make no mistake, these were a troupe of total professionals (despite all the flubs and technical problems, all of which were completely hilarious, not to mention amazingly well-handled by the improv talents of the cast).
Do you know how INCREDIBLY surreal it is for an Animaniacs fan like myself to be sitting in a theater next to Peter Hastings and Andrea Romano, watching Rob Paulsen sing Animaniacs songs while surrounded by nude females dressed barely as Animaniacs characters, bouncing boobs, and a live band and some guy making weird sound effects on stage? If you told this to any Animaniacs fan, they would never in a million years believe what I experienced. I am probably one of the luckiest Animaniacs fans on earth right now. In one of his songs, Rob Paulsen improvised the lyrics “I don’t believe I’m doing this right now”.
Peter Hastings said “thank you for correctly interpreting the Animaniacs.” and he left with a huge kiss mark of lipstick on his cheek from Yakko. Rob Paulsen said he couldn’t believe how amazing and wonderful the show was and how mindblowing it was that fans were so rabid about Animaniacs that they’d take their pants off. He was truly impressed. I left completely jazzed, I could not believe what I just saw. If there were any huge Animaniacs fans in that audience, they are truly lucky because that will never happen again and the magical moment is gone.
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