In my almost-monthly column for Pin Curl Magazine, I get to discuss ways and manners in the business of burlesque. I've written about stage kittens before, but every time I do it I find new ways to appreciate them! Following are some excerpts from the newest issue of Pincurl.
“Stage kittens have become iconic elements of many burlesque shows. These are the fabulous creatures you see getting so much time are often also part of the glue that holds the show together. A burlesque show bonus, a stage kitten is the person who picks up the costume pieces and props after a burlesque number. They may also set up props, assist the emcee, gogo dance, sell merchandise between sets, and a whole lot more. A stage kitten can make a show run more smoothly, helping the performers make seamless transitions from number to number.” – Murray Hill
Top Tips for Stage Kittens:
1) Ask the producer (or whoever contacted you to book you for the gig) exactly what they need from you. Since stage kittens can help in so many ways, it’s important to know if there is also a stage manager, if you’ll be expected to collect music, etc. Find out if the gig pays–some producers prefer to hire kittens as unpaid interns, some prefer experienced kittens who already know how to make the job go as smoothly as possible. Even if they are not paying you, treat it as a professional gig. If you don’t want to do the gig for free, don’t do it–that’s much better than doing it and then going around complaining that they don’t pay.
2) Ask them what they’d like you to wear, and don’t let them get away with saying “Whatever you like.” Theatre stage managers usually wear black jeans and t-shirts, but stage kittens are more likely to be seen in fringed gogo outfits–and you may end up go-go-ing in them! Make sure your costume suits the aesthetic of the show, and make sure your shoes are cute but comfortable enough to allow you to run from dressing room to DJ at top speed, should the need arise. Wear makeup and do your hair as if you were going to perform a routine, because you’ll be onstage a lot.
3) Get there before everyone and be ready to go onstage. You should not be doing your makeup when the performers are doing theirs–you should be stage ready and getting their info at that point.
4) Do your best to avoid gossip about the other performers and don’t get involved in talking smack about the venue or producer. If you must talk smack, save that for another place and time.
5) Bring a clipboard and a couple of pens, preferably sharpies, and get everyone’s name (including the staff’s names–and be sure to give those to the emcee as well). Find out from each performer what they need to go onstage, if they have any setup, and WRITE IT DOWN. Find out how many copies of the set list the emcee needs, and write
them up as promptly as possible.
Read the entire article