I’ve heard some great things about the Lock & Key Burlesque Troupe in the last few months, but so far I haven’t had a chance to see one of their performances here in town. Well, all that’s about to change because my schedule is finally synched up with a show that they’re presenting at The Apollo Theatre entitled, “I Wish’t I Was In Peoria.” It’s a musical burlesque production of the history of Peoria and I can’t wait to see it! But before showtime happens, I was invited to take a look at one of their practice sessions earlier in the week and they let me stop by the dress rehearsal for the show the night before. So let’s travel back in time to those two nights before showtime starts on Saturday night!
Monday, March 13, 2017—Practice Night
Here we are at Lock & Key’s practice space located at Studio B of the California Style Fitness Studio’s on Prospect Road. There’s Miss Kitty Catscratch, the founder of Lock & Key Burlesque. Miss Kitty founded the troupe in September of 2015. She’s been a burlesque performer since 2009 and started the Lock & Key Burlesque Troupe after moving here from Decatur. She says it was a way to keep up her burlesque skills and a nice way to meet people in and around Peoria. She has a true passion for this art form and says it was partially a monster of necessity for her brain and body to organize and run this troupe of performers. And speaking of performers, there’s the two emcees for the show pictured below Miss Kitty, Mistress May and Roxanna Noir. See the way they’re looking at me? I get that look a lot! But hey, you learn to live with these things and just keep moving along!
There’s 13 members in the Lock & Key troupe and others are performing for the show this Saturday. Here they are gathering in the studio and loosening up for the practice. As you can see, I took advantage of the mirror for my first ever obligatory burlesque show practice mirror shot. Or something like that.
They’re running through the numbers in the show and things are pretty loose in here tonight. I’m liking what I’m seeing and these are really talented people, but I have to be honest, I’m wondering if they’ll be ready for an actual show this Saturday. Keep on scrolling and we’ll find out!
Friday, March 17, 2017—Dress Rehearsal
We’re here on Man Street at The Apollo Theatre. I’ve never seen a show in here and I can’t wait for tomorrow night’s performance! But for now, let’s escape the drunken St. Patrick’s day revelers outside and get in the theatre. Up the stairs we go and wow, check out the stage down there! It’s Mistress May and Roxanna Noir trading lines on stage. Let’s go get a little closer to the action!
All the performers are in their costumes and they’re running through their numbers with Miss Kitty giving them directions after their performances. I can’t believe the difference between Monday night’s practice and seeing the troupe on stage tonight! This is very impressive and I am so excited for the show tomorrow. Well, thanks to the miracle of the internet, we don’t have to wait at all, here we go to...
Saturday Night, March 18, 2017—Showtime!
Live, from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night with your host The Apollo Theatre and starring The Lock & Key Burlesque Troupe presenting, “I Wish’t I Was In Peoria.” Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome this week’s host, down there on Main Street, The Apollo Theatre!
Once again, here we are in front of the Apollo Theatre and as you can see, they’ve got the signage out for tonight’s show!
As always, I’m early, but so are some other people. After a short wait the doors opened and in we went. Check out the trio of pretty ladies that are the welcoming committee here tonight, nice! I went up the stairs and found Miss Kitty in the back of the theatre looking fabulous and take a gander at the lit up stage! This is something everyone in Peoria should see!
I took some shots of this vintage and majestic theatre that’s been here in Peoria for decades. It’s so beautiful in here! And the theatre can be rented out for parties, shows, wedding receptions and just about any kind of celebration you can think of. Okay, the lights have gone down, the stage is lit and it’s just about...
Showtime! Miss Kitty came out on the stage first to explain tonight’s show which is a historical tribute to Peoria done burlesque style. A dancer and cue card man accompanied her and then Mistress May and Roxanna Noir took the stage to start the show. The two of them had hilarious back and forth banter and then it was time for the acts to take the stage and start the show!
Miss Kitty said the show is a team effort. She came up with the general concept and then as a group they picked out points of Peoria history they chose to cover. The soloists choreographed their own numbers and the large group numbers were choreographed as a troupe. So far it’s nothing short of spectacular! The show was so entertaining and captivating I kept forgetting to take pictures, so this will be a little hodgepodge of images from the show. And as you can see from that last picture, it’s fun to watch even when they’re cleaning up the stage!
The show celebrated Peoria’s bicycle history and other topics included Betty Friedan, Richard Pryor, strippers and women of the evening. And as you can see, there’s male dancers on stage too!
In addition to the musical numbers, there was also comedy in the form of Coney Island styled side-show skits, including walking on broken glass! They also had a really fun and lively musical number as a tribute to the infamous Peoria Shelton Brothers and an hilarious comedy skit about mold being discovered as a use for penicillin to cure burning problems that arise!
This show was such a fantastic mix of music, dancing, humor and it was so professionally presented on stage! I couldn’t capture it all in pictures, so if this post intrigues you, you definitely need to see them in performance for yourself! Upcoming dates include multiple performances at the Mardi Gras in May festival on May 13th on the riverfront here in Peoria and they’ll be putting on a show at The Bistro in Bloomington, Illinois on June 3rd. Follow their facecrack page for further information and updates.
After the show, there was a meet and greet in the lobby where you can talk to all of the performers from the show. I thought we’d end this post with the two that started it all, Mistress May and Roxanna Noir! Great job, ladies and thanks to Miss Kitty and everyone at The Apollo Theatre and Lock & Key Burlesque for a fabulous show and Saturday night on the town in Peoria! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Lock & Key Burlesque
311 Main Street