Looking for some classy yet sultry fun featuring lascivious performances that reach beyond the bars and clubs of Bourbon St? The New Orleans Burlesque Festival (Sept. 18th-21st) offers all that and more with a handful of unforgettable evening performances and other crowd-pleasing events sure to stir up enticing excitement for all who attend.
Besides the evening shows themselves, the New Orleans Burlesque Festival offers a few extra treats for its lush-loving guests. On Thursday evening, Sept. 18th, the event kicks off with a special opening night party, where attendees can mingle with the stars of the festival.
Before the headlining shows, the festival presents various daytime events, including book signings, social mixers, burlesque workshops and dance lessons to give attendees a closer look at the magic behind the scenes. Sunday also has a series of events, though the lineup has not yet been released, so check back on the festival website for more information closer to the dates of the fest.
The shows themselves take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19th and 20th, and typically feature about 70 dancers and several chorus girl troupes at Harrah’s Casino (Riverside end of Canal St) in the CBD and House of Blues (225 Decatur St) just a few blocks away in the French Quarter.
Friday night features two shows: Mondo Burlesque at Harrah’s starting at 8 p.m. is a variety show of burlesque entertainers that have graced stages and riled up crowds around the world, and Bad Girls of Burlesque at House of Blues starting at 11 p.m. is another “celebration of the wicked, the wayward and the wanton” in the burlesque scene.
On Saturday night starting at 7:30 p.m., Harrah’s hosts the main event, The Queen of Burlesque, where the best in burlesque perform onstage with a live traditional jazz band, just like the classic performances of the 1930s through 50s. They compete for the festival title of “Queen of Burlesque,” and a panel of celebrity judges selects the winner. The event sells out every year, so if you’re thinking about attending, purchase your tickets ahead of time.
To close out the night, the Queen’s Ball, held at House of Blues starting at 11 p.m., celebrates the crowning of the Queen of Burlesque, where she holds court while other class acts perform more alluring burlesque performances onstage.
If you’re a fan of some of the more offbeat theatrical talent that New Orleans has to offer, visiting the city for the New Orleans Burlesque Festival is sure to be a vacation to remember.