Obsessing over the dictionary definition of burlesque is a waste of time, but I'll still throw it down because I'm perverse like that:
1. A literary or dramatic work that ridicules a subject either by presenting a solemn subject in an undignified style or an inconsequential subject in a dignified style. See synonyms at caricature.
2. A ludicrous or mocking imitation; a travesty: The antics of the defense attorneys turned the trial into a burlesque of justice.
3. A variety show characterized by broad ribald comedy, dancing, and striptease.
Spend a little time on the answers.com page linked above if you're a burlesque nerd--I know I am!
Above: A burlesque of a talent show, from the movie Spring Breakdown featuring my Poehler, Parker Posey, Rachel Dratch, Amber Tamblyn, Seth Meyers, Sophie Monk, Missi Pyle, and Jane Lynch.
When I'm teaching I often describe Saturday Night Live as a good example of burlesque in the tradition of the statement "Burlesque is the art of treating the frivolous seriously, and the serious frivolously." Making fun of hit films and music, taking down the high and mighty, pushing the envelope--that's burlesque, I do believe! (Although, as you know, it's the striptease kind of burlesque ignites my own obsession, in a way comedy and satire alone just don't do.)
With this in mind, it makes sense that a SNL alumni would be starring in a new production of "The Night They Raided Minsky's."
Rachel Dratch Possibly Coming to Broadway!
Above: Video of Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey talking about the difference between writing for live theater and writing for television, plus, talking about women playing men.
Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.