Return to The Wrathskellar

Dear Constant Reader,

The Wrathskellar reopens for business tonight and every night through Halloween!

We’ve added a few more tantalizing artifacts and ephemera to the show and another act entirely. And delightful cocktails to supplement the treats in the bar.
(click for a more readable version)

We’ve been getting so great reviews, like:

“This was amazing. It was beautiful and haunting and intriguing. I, seriously, lost track of time and wish I had more time in the show. Go early if you can is my advice. There’s so much to see.”

“…this is the best burlesque I have seen in Boston. The performers are engaged, clearly having fun, professional, and entertaining.”

“Just went and saw this show today! It was awesome. Get tickets and go if you can. Share around otherwise, let’s get word out. Burlesque haunted experiences for all!”

“I was expecting a “Sleep No More”-like immersive theater experience, and it absolutely delivered. However, I was not expecting it to be so quietly disturbing.”

We’ve added one more show on November 5th (remember, remember…). It will be the last chance to see Wrathskellar Tales in this setting. Ever. Really.

If you’re intrigued by what went into creating this unique and complex show (and want to know all the secrets), please join us for Inside “Wrathskellar Tales” on November 4th. Guests will get a guided tour of the installation and participate in a Q&A with the cast. And then you’ll have one last chance to see the show the next night.

Last night we filmed the acts for posterity. In November the performance spaces cease to exist and will never return, and many of the acts cannot be performed outside of this setting.

Here’s The Diva in her Boudior preparing to bathe as her Maid looks on anxiously.
(photo by Susanna)


Published in: on 27 October 2016 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dear Constant Reader,

Just a little update on the post-flood situation at The Wrathskellar.

Saturday morning, bright and early, the landlord had plumbers in the space, putting in a drainage system and pumps again the wall where the flooding started. When we arrived in the early afternoon, the rest of the space was wet, but there was no longer any standing water. This is something of a miracle as there had been multiple inches of water in the bar 12 hours earlier.

A bunch of people brought box fans and Scratch bought one of those industrial floor driers and we set to work getting things dry and clean. Resetting the spaces was pretty quick after that. Thanks to everyone’s quick work Friday night, nothing was damaged.

The worst casualty came from a container of dumpling sauce leftover from dinner. Costumes got piled on top of it in haste and some of it spilled onto my corset and Pearl’s feather duster. Fortunately, I have excellent stain-removing skills (take my class on costume care at BurlyCon!). I should have taken a before and after picture of the corset, because it was that dramatic.

The kitchen couldn’t really be up and running properly because the plumbers were continuing to work even after the house opened for the night. Despite the limited menu, we introduced signature cocktails!

The plumbers continued to work after the house opened and we held the show until they were done and out. Fortunately, we only had to start about 5 minutes late. However, the doors to the building were open all day, both because the plumbers were toting things in and out all day and to get better airflow to help dry the floors. The result was the iciest bathwater in my tub ever. It was awfully hard to look like I was enjoying splashing around.

Sunday was a mercifully normal show (other than a glitch with the audio player in my boudoir. Again.). Best moment: I was walking into my boudoir near the end of the show when one of the guests approached, and with head bowed humbly, offered me a ring. I took it haughtily, put it on, and gave her one of The Diva’s tokens.

And now we have two blissful days of downtime to finally rest!


Published in: on 24 October 2016 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Unexpected Events

Dear Constant Reader,

I didn’t expect to be writing to you for I didn’t think there would be anything noteworthy. I hoped the show last night would be uneventful. Today I expected to be recovering from weeks of hard work by sleeping in, relaxing, and perhaps taking care of some of the little things that have been falling by the wayside during the Wrathskellar build.

Last night things were completely uneventful, for me anyway, until half an hour before the end of the show. I went into my dressing room to discover that Pearl was helping one of the maids (aka stage hands) pick out pasties. This is how I discovered that Brigitte had had a family emergency* and left early in the show. Other cast members had been filing in during her numbers as best they could all night. I had been so involved in my own thing that I never realized. Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t know until so late in the show, which reduced the freaking out, but gave me enough time to prepare myself for the finale being short a person.

That over with, I was looking forward to greeting some folks I knew in the bar and then going home for some cat snuggling and greatly-needed sleep.

That’s when Scratch told me the streets were flooded. We were in a basement. There was water pouring into the kitchen area. Like, broken pipe levels of water.

After cutting the bar entertainments short and sending the patrons on their way, the cast and crew mobilized. We frantically began moving everything out of the kitchen area, but the water kept coming. The water filled the bar and started running down the left-hand hallway into the performance space. We started clearing set dressing as fast as possible from the path of the water. The water kept coming. Running into The Sewing Room, then The Lost Girl’s Garret, into the Left Luggage Office. It started pouring into the back dressing room, and into The Contessa’s Seraglio.

Contrast this picture with the one from opening night.

Thanks to herculean effort from everyone, cast, crew, staff, and a couple of volunteers, we got everything, including the draperies that create the spaces, up off the floor. We had a ton of electronics that needed to be moved to safety. I don’t know how, but even the piano got moved out of the flood area and up onto blocks.

After everything was safe, the water removal kicked into high gear. Most of the cast was released at this point. Heroic effort was made by those who remained: Scratch, Hunter, Mr. Cleave (one of the performers in the bar), Marek (a frequent volunteer) & his dad, Matt (our occasional trumpet player) who had just come to enjoy the show, and Betty. I am so grateful to all of them for their hard work.

We had an industrial shop-vac and the water was deep enough in some places that it could be bailed with improvised buckets. Scratch uncovered what we hoped was a drain, but turned out to be an old sump pit. Marek drove Betty to her house to get her sump pump (I miss the days when Home Depot was open 24 hours…), which Hunter got up and running.

Around 1:30am when Scratch, Hunter, Betty, and I called it quits, the water was noticeably lower.

I’m told that there’s a plumbing crew in there now, doing arcane flood prevention and water draining things. In a few hours we’ll go over, assess the damage, and hopefully clean up, wash the floors, repaint where necessary, and reset all the spaces.

You know what they say about the show going on…

M2* She’s fine. Everybody involved is fine. She’ll be back tonight.

Published in: on 22 October 2016 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wrathskellar Tales Opens

Dear Constant Reader,

We opened Wrathskellar Tales last night. I’m beyond exhausted and not even sure where to begin. Forgive me if I ramble.

It’s not a traditional burlesque show. We (and by we, I mean mostly Scratch and a very small crew) turned the space that will be The Thalia, a long-neglected basement, into “backstage” at The Wrathskellar. This was a massive build, bigger than anything we’d ever done before, and a lot of things couldn’t really be stage-faked, since the guests can explore and rummage through things. Besides the performances space, we also needed to redo the bathroom (it was so gross), create a box office, a coat check, a bar/kitchen/music hall area, and get a piano down the stairs.

This has been so time consuming. Most of the cast put in long days and/or evenings doing whatever we could, often when we were supposed to be rehearsing. I know it was making Scratch crazy (“A performer’s job is to perform!”), but he couldn’t turn down the help.

Instead of a linear show with acts that appear on stage one-by-one with props and set pieces being moved around, we have a number of performance areas, each of which has to be dressed appropriately. And we need to salt the place with interesting tidbits to intrigue the guests. I’m really grateful to the skilled artists who helped make the place beautiful (for some sense of beautiful) as well as the cast who took initiative in creating the decor for their spaces.

Just to give you an idea, here’s Betty as The Contessa lounging in her Seraglio.

I’d say we were about 90% ready when we opened last night. There are a bunch of things we wanted to happen that got shelved for now. Don’t worry — we’ll be putting them in as we go. Because the build went so long and there were so many complications, we only got to try out the tech on Wednesday and last night was the first time with audience. When you’re doing an interactive show, it doesn’t matter how much you rehearse and try to prepare, everything changes when you bring in the people. There was a fair bit of winging it.

The biggest issues I was aware of last night were definitely audio. Every space has its individual soundscape and audio gear. We synchronize our watches and all hit “play” at the same time. There’s no way to run the music in a centralized way (not on our budget). Personally, I had several problems in my Boudoir. Thank goodness Hunter was around to fix my speakers early on, but there was nothing that could be done when my player froze, other than reboot it (I don’t know how long that took, but it felt like years). But that pales in comparison to Devora, who had no working sound in either of her performance areas. Because she’s just that good, she ran her numbers in silence.

I have every confidence that these kinks will all get ironed out post-haste.

The best part of last night for me was finally performing with my bathtub! I’ve been working on this act for more than a year — getting the tub in performance condition took longer than choreographing. Scratch has been a huge help in making this dream of mine come true. Not only has he lent his tech expertise and skills, he kept encouraging me, even when it was too overwhelming.

No pictures of me yet, so if you want to see me in my Catherine D’Lish and Glorious Pasties splendor, you’ll need to see the show.

We’ve got three more performances this week and five next week. Please join us for burlesque, creepiness, great food, live music, mysteries, magic, and more atmosphere than you can handle. Tickets are available at There are a limited number of tickets per entrance time, so don’t wait.

Down we go!


Published in: on 21 October 2016 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I’m exhausted. Wrathskellar Tales opened last night and hopefully I’ll be coherent enough later to write about it. For now, here’s your tip!

Remember to pack a robe.

Sometimes it gets cold backstage. Or you have to go through a public space to get to the bathroom. A robe is more comfortable for hanging out in the dressing room than your street clothes and more elegant than sweats.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 21 October 2016 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Busy Weekend

Dear Constant Reader,

Wrathskellar Tales opens on Thursday, so this is crunch time and we should be working round the clock in the space. Instead we did two traveling shows back to back.

Friday evening saw us at RuffleCon, an alternative fashion conference in Connecticut. Some of us were there last year and were delighted to be invited back. We love showing off some of our finest costumes at this event. Because they specifically asked for a male burlesque dancer, we were pleased to share the stage with Mister Twister, visiting from Chicago.

This year the show was at 8:30 pm, rather than late night, so the audience was thinner and much more sober. Still, it was a great time and the audience enjoyed it. The earlier time slot mean that some of us packed up and headed out right after so we could get a few hours of work on Wrathskellar Tales the next day. I was sorry to miss the themed cocktails, the vendors, wearing a petticoat, sleeping over and having breakfast with the other BeauTease. Still, waking up in my own bed was worth getting home at two in the morning. And I had a costume to finish.

Saturday night we headed north to New Hampshire and Another Anime Convention. We had been invited the entertain the “Educating Sherlock” panel attendees with a Victorian Bordello show. This was a ton of fun! We carefully curated a show to fit the theme and Scratch introduced us as the various offerings in Mistress Irene’s House of Ill Repute.

  • Pearl did a sweet strip with a parasol to Flanders and Swann’s “Have Some Madeira, M’dear”.
  • I did a fan dance, of course.
  • Brigitte performed one of The Broad’s drunken acts. It’s subtly different when Brigitte does it then when The Broad does…
  • Devora did a beautiful bubble dance en pointe with a huge balloon.
  • Scratch preformed a minor miracle, appropriately enough, using ropes.
  • Betty laughed in the face of danger as she cut her clothes off with a wickedly sharp knife.
  • Brigitte showed her artistic side as a photographer in “Still Life (with Banana)”
  • Pearl and I closed things out the perennial favorite, “Mistress & Maid”. It was kind of required for this crowd with the spanking and all.

And then there was chocolate in naughty shapes before we had to head back to Boston. We had a fantastic time and our hostesses wrote a glowing review which delighted us so.

And now it’s Wrathskellar Tales all the time. We open on Thursday! Do you have your tickets yet?


Published in: on 18 October 2016 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! The BeauTease are about to embark on a whirlwind weekend of shows. Tonight we’re at RuffleCon, tomorrow we’re at Another Anime Con, and then it’s back to Wrathskellar Tales full time. Here’s your tip!

Be flexible.

I don’t mean that everyone should be able to do splits and backbends (although that would be nice…). Things don’t always go according to plan. Stuff happens. Situations change. If you’re able to figure out an alternative solution, you’ll be less frustrated that things have gone awry. Keep an open mind and think creatively.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 14 October 2016 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

So Much Fun

Dear Constant Reader,

Friday night we were hired to entertain at a bachelor party, but not the sort you might expect. The groom-to-be and his friends wanted a little burlesque show and then they were going to spend the rest of the night playing Magic: The Gathering. So, we put together a show we thought they’d appreciate.

Elsa Riot opened the show with an ethereal fan dance as Tyrande Whisperwind from World of Warcraft.

Betty Blaize, our resident computer geek, showed how hot a new laptop can make her.

Scratch performed a bit of prestidigitation while Elsa changed in record time from Dark Elf to…

…Number One Starfleet Officer. This was a brand-new act she created just for this party and tested out at The Teaseday Club. Her costuming was an incredibly clever use of re-purposed items.

And I closed everything out as The Faerie Queene. I was feeling smug that my final flower production was a coveted Black Lotus. Sadly, the flower lost structural integrity as I materialized it and I could only gift the guest of honor with a handful of black petals.

It was a great change of pace to do a show like this and I think we had as much fun as the guests did.

Here’s Tyrande and Titania!


Published in: on 11 October 2016 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Most of my time and energy has been going into Wrathskellar Tales these days. We open 2 weeks from yesterday! However, I would not forget your tip.

Need inspiration for an act? Go to a museum.

Look at color, at shape, at pattern, at texture, at motion. Anything and everything is potential inspiration. I don’t just mean art museums; any collection has treasures.

And supporting museums is always a good thing!

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

Published in: on 7 October 2016 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

In the Kitchen: Spritzen (1788)

Dear Constant Reader,

Let us return to my kitchen for an 18th century treat. At this time the British monarchs were still basically German, so German cuisine had intergrated itself into English cookbooks. “Spritzen” is the German word for “splash”, “squirt”, or “spray”. These days it’s mostly used for a kind of cookie that is squeezed out of a press. I’m not sure how the name applies to these pastries.

From The Lady’s Complete Guide by Mary Cole (1788)

Mix two spoonfuls of fine flour with two eggs well beat, half a pint of cream or milk and two ounces of melted butter; stir it all well together, and add a little salt and nutmeg. Put them in tea-cups, or little deep tin moulds, half full, and bake them a quarter of an hour in a quick oven; but let it be hot enough to colour them and top and bottom. Turn them into a dish, and strew powder sugar over them.

As we learned from previous recipes, a good rule of thumb for pre-20th century recipes is to cut the number of eggs in half. Everything else seems pretty straight forward except the quantity of flour. How big was a spoonful? Karen Hess, in her excellently researched book Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, suggests that a spoonful in the later 17th century was equivalent to two of our tablespoons. I decided that it was probably still the case by the time this recipe came around.

I beat the hell out of the egg, since that’s the only rising agent. Added the flour, cream (since I had some from a different cooking experiment), butter, salt, and grated in some nutmeg. I used a standard size muffin tin (I’m pretty sure I greased it) and filled 8 cups.

A “quick oven” is about 375-400F. I baked the spritzen for 22 minutes at 400F.

They puffed up beautifully in the oven, like popovers, but fell completely before I could get them out of the pan. I sprinkled them with a little granulated sugar. If I’d been really authentic I would gave ground it up in my mortar, since “powder sugar” was sugar that was ground fine. Modern powdered sugar isn’t the same and usually has cornstarch added.

Despite being nicely browned and crispy on top and bottom, they were quite custardy in the middle. And very delicious. I’m not sure how well they keep, because they were gone before they even had a chance to cool.

1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1 cup light cream or milk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat egg very well and stir in flour. Mix in liquid ingredients and then seasonings. Pour batter into greased muffin tins, about 1/2 full. Bake at 400F until puffed and brown, 15-20 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with sugar and remove from tin. Serve hot.

Makes about 8.


Published in: on 5 October 2016 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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