The Carnival Has Just Begun: A Monday Night at the STAGE Casting Call

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As a boy & throughout my teens, one of my biggest loves was the theatrical sport of professional wrestling. Yes, yes, I know. The outcomes to matches are manipulated, it involves choreographed coordination between the participants with very real risk for injury, etc. Still, it was what I loved to watch & follow more than anything growing up: it was a larger-than-life world of larger-than-life athletes. Baseball? Basketball? Football? Nope. Nope. Oh, and by the way, nope. My “sports fix” was WWE, NWA, AWA, and later on, WCW, ECW, TNA, etc.  My “home team colors” were the red & yellow of Hulkamania, or the black & white of the nWo. When I spoke of my favorite sports figures, I was all like, “Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka, the Undertaker…”

Today, as a grown-ass man who still noms on Mac & Cheese like an eight-year-old, I now understand what the magic of professional wrestling was truly about. I still take time out now & then to relive my memories via the WWE Network, and still get a huge thrill out of seeing those classic matches. Nowadays, though, I can watch it with a whole new perspective: while wrestling itself is the oldest sport in the world, professional wrestling is actually a 150+-year-old art form, with roots that are not only steeped in wrestling as a combat form, but moreso, another iconic brand of theatrical entertainment.

Vaudeville.

Indeed, the dramatic action you see in the wrestling ring is, in a lot of ways, the ongoing evolution of a tradition that first started with vaudeville entertainers who were all the rage in the late 1880’s through the early 1930’s. Dance, acrobatics, drama and comedy, packaged on a single night’s touring bill. All of these traits are familiar elements of professional wrestling’s formula, and sure enough, they were key elements of vaudeville as well.

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So of course, having come to terms with this, I developed a fascination with this tried & true form of theatrical genre of variety entertainment called vaudeville. When the bruh SJ Torres (Boston VIPs) first told me about the concept behind Boston’s next new nightspot, STAGE American Vaudeville Nightclub, I was greatly interested in seeing how this would play out. It’s the first of its kind in our city: according to the official Facebook like page, the idea behind STAGE is a multi-stage venue with  “a variety of performances going on based in a nightclub setting. The format almost resembling an old vaudeville club with many different acts. the design and decor will be luxurious and classic to resemble the 1900-1930?s era specific vibe we are going after.”

Damn. Yessir, I am all in. When’s the casting call again? Dope. I am coming through.

This past Monday (November 10) at the Revere Hotel in Boston Common was actually the second-type STAGE situation I was in the building for: previously, I was also around for a casting & staffing call at the venue itself (to be located at 19 Boylston Place, Boston), in which I brought a number of my most beautiful & talented friends with me to get a look. So this was a completely different type of setting: onstage, alongside SJ, Mr. Michael Zotos & the dahling Diamond Liz, I would get an up-close-and-personal view of a wide range of entertainers & performers, all vying for a spot on the STAGE performing roster.

I was already kind of familiar with this sort of take on nightlife, having attended the fabulous OBERON in Cambridge on several occasions & also having developed concepts for my own OBERON events that, as of this writing, have not seen the light of day. So I thought I knew what to expect going in. Nah, mane. Not by a longshot. This was so far above & beyond what I thought I’d see.

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At Monday’s casting call, what I did see was entertainment in the vintage vaudeville manner through a modern lens. You saw everything from fantastic light shows to traditional-style comedy duos working the kinds of slapstick gags that used to make me bust my gut whenever John Ritter fell over a couch on Three’s Company. You saw a trio of Vegas-style dancers with extravagant looks & the moves to match, and you saw a single elderly fellow singing a cappella about being a “senile aging man” (set to the 1966 hit by Johnny Rivers). There were beautiful ladies who worked hula hoops in ways you didn’t think the human body was capable of doing, you saw juggling acts, and acrobatics that defied description. Most of the acts I had the honor of witnessing in this intimate setting were, in my Sterling Golden opinion, deserving of a spot on the prestigious new STAGE front.

All of this, however, would prove to be an engaging undercard for the main event: a medley of performers put together by Devin Hill, many of which comprised of acts seen throughout the night, with lead vocals provided by my gorgeous homegirl Cathy Cathodic, a supremely talented singer, model & entertainer who takes ownership of the live stage every time she sets her leather heels onto it. I will tell you now, family: I was so not surprised to see Cathy in the mix here. She has always been a striking woman with enormous charisma and classic beauty; above all, a natural performer. No bias intended here, but for me, she stole the evening along with the amazing cast who accompanied her onstage Monday.

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In all, I got a good sense & a solid understanding of what will define the new STAGE nightclub, from an entertainment standpoint. In some ways, as I watched the night play out with Diamond Liz, I saw so many of those familiar traits associated with professional wrestling up there, minus the violent combat sports element. I am of the belief this will be our community’s next big entertainment experience. You guys have no idea what is about to hit our scene; it’s classic vaudeville updated for 2014, 2015, and beyond, in a dynamic setting that feels like you are witnessing a grand illusion from your wildest dreams unfolding before your eyes. The new STAGE American Vaudeville Nightclub is set to open very soon. Be ready for the next level of Boston nightlife.

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(OK. Fine. It’s unavoidable. Here is an idea of what my Monday looked like.)

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