Long live the ‘Queen’: Burlesque show extends its run in Bushwick

Long live the queen: The cast of “Queen of Hearts” crowns a new monarch in the opulent show loosely based on “Alice in Wonderland.”
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This “Heart” will go on and on!

A Bushwick burlesque show inspired by “Alice in Wonderland” will continues its journey down the rabbit hole past its expected end date in August. “Queen of Hearts,” from Company XIV, has extended its run until Nov. 2, its founder announced last week.

“It’s been doing really well, and the audience has been strong and so we want to keep the party going,” said Austin McCormick, who also directs and choreographs the show.

The opulent extravaganza opened in the Company’s baroque Theater XIV in March, dazzling audiences with dancing rabbits, musical Cheshire cats, and a set of buff, scantily-clad playing cards. The three-act show includes 33 musical numbers, incorporating comedy vaudeville routines, aerial acts, ballet, and opera, alongside saucy burlesque performances.

The sheer variety of the night has led some audience members to return two or three times, said McCormick.

“A surprising number of people come multiple times,” he said. “There’s a lot going on and so much to see, so people want to try it multiple times, to see if from a different angle.”

The show’s combination of theater and nightlife draws a diverse audience, McCormick said, but one consistent thread has been couples out for night on the town.

“We have these champagne-inclusive couches for two — a lot of those are taken by people on dates, or people trying to impress their significant others,” he noted. “There’s a lot of canoodling on those couches.”

The current show has the same acts as when it started six months ago, but the actors have added depth and nuance to their performances, said McCormick, as they became more familiar with the roles and with how audiences react to the them, said the director.

“Our show depends so much on audience interaction, so they’ve really had a chance to play with that,” he said.

The performers also act as guides and bartenders, leading audience members through the Company’s space, which McCormick describes as “the court of Louis the 14th meets a Brooklyn speakeasy.”

When “Queen of Hearts” closes in November, Company XIV will return with its annual naughty holiday show “Nutcracker Rouge,” on Nov. 14. A new, as yet unnamed production will follow in the spring.

“Queen of Hearts” at Theatre XIV (383 Troutman St. between Wyckoff and Irving avenues in Bushwick, (866) 811–4111, Thu–Sat at 8 pm through Nov. 2. $85–$155 (VIP couches for two $325–$475).

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Posted 12:00 am, August 7, 2019
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