Centenary theater hosts unique vaudeville, burlesque show

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary professors Amy Hammond and Don Hooper are bringing a unique theatrical experience to the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse (MLP) stage next month in conjunction with their course for the College’s Centenary in Paris program. The Marvelous Misfits, a professional troupe performing traditional vaudeville and burlesque, will present a vaudeville variety show at MLP on Tuesday, August 8 at 7:00 p.m.

“The central ‘text’ of our Centenary in Paris course is the 2001 film, Moulin Rouge!,” says Hammond. “Obviously, learning about burlesque and vaudeville is part of the historical context for that film. We had planned from the beginning of our course to see a burlesque show in Paris, but also wanted to arrange one in Shreveport. We’re looking forward to the opportunities for students to compare and contrast what they see here and in Paris with respect to the design of the productions, what the performers do (and do not do), and how the audiences react.”

As Hammond and Hooper planned their Centenary in Paris course, they spent some time “running down rumors about previous and current performers in town” and hit a dead end. Then, a friend sent Hammond information about a Marvelous Misfits performance in Shreveport in April, and she was able to talk to the troupe after the show about possibly working with the Moulin Rouge! class.

“They were really enthusiastic,” recalls Hammond. “Paul Prater, one of the performers, has written a book about the history of vaudeville, so the educational angle of the performance was really appealing.”

The Marvelous Misfits variety show features a rotating cast of performers, so no two shows are exactly the same. All shows include some combination of juggling, hooping, magic, mentalism, comedy, theater, singing, sideshow, and dancing acts. The performance will also include traditional burlesque and may not be appropriate for all ages. A Q & A with the performers will follow the show at Centenary.

Hammond and Hooper are excited about integrating the Marvelous Misfits performance into their Centenary in Paris course as well as about hosting a unique theater experience for the wider community.

“While the Marvelous Misfits do perform periodically in smaller venues around town, these shows have a more contemporary feel,” explains Hammond. “The Centenary show will be traditional vaudeville and burlesque in a really amazing space, Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. The larger crowd and technical advances in lighting and sound that MLP can provide are going to make this a really special show.”

Tickets for the Marvelous Misfits performance are $10 and free for Centenary students, faculty, and staff. Tickets and more information are available at centenary.edu/misfits.

For more information about the Centenary in Paris program that sends all first-year students to Paris, France to begin their college careers, visit centenary.edu/paris.