Enjoy a cocktail or two with off-Broadway hit comedian Dixie Longate in the comfort of your own couch beginning this Tuesday, Feb. 9 and running through Feb. 21. Need something to toast to? The live virtual show “Dixie’s Happy Hour” will benefit several performing arts theaters, including Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.
The charming Alabama redhead is best known for her live comedy show “Dixie’s Tupperware Party,” in which she shares crazy stories, sells Tupperware, mixes cocktails and invites her audience members to join in on the interactive fun. With theaters currently closed sue to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dixie has developed a 95-minute virtual show of laughter, drink recipes, and adult humor that — according to Dixie — has literally had a theatergoer lose their dentures from howling at her antics.
The live stream is offered at an affordable price — $35 per household — which Dixie calls a “labor of love” to support theaters around the country. Get a taste of this worldwide-touring, gum-chewing, kind-hearted Southern gal on her Instagram and Backstage Q&A:
You’re so fun. I’ve really loved watching your videos on your Instagram and am very excited to see you in action on stage.
Oh my, how I appreciate that. Because everything’s closed down right now, the only way I can see anybody is through videos that I’m doing on social media or if I can do a virtual show. So this show is like my best effort to keep myself in front of people, and keep people smiling.
How are you preparing for this virtual experience?
Well it’s crazy. I mean, I’ve been doing shows forever and with everything closed down, I thought, I wanted to do something to keep myself busy, keep occupied, and keep making people laugh.
But at the same time, I knew that all the art centers have been closed down since March, there’s no money coming in because there’s no shows on sale, and there’s no ticket revenues. And because I’ve been lucky enough to travel so much, I’ve met so many great people that work at the art centers, the box office, people in marketing, everybody. And so many of them are being laid off and furloughed. And I thought, well, if there’s anything I can do to bring some money back into the theaters, I’ll do it. So I thought let me write something on it, put it together, and I’ll work on it as a streaming thing, because then I can get it out to a bunch of theaters all at the same time. And the benefit is that the lion share of the ticket money goes to the arts centers.
What were your challenges of putting on this virtual production?
I’ve been very lucky to have all these different theaters open their doors to me for the last 12 years that I’ve been on the road. So I want to give back to those who supported me. It’s been a real labor of love getting it all together because a lot of the art centers aren’t really equipped yet to do streaming. It’s been a lot of handholding and figuring out the best way to do it. I have some amazing people that I’m working with that have helped me put it all together. Now we’re up and running, and it’s all over the country. It was kind of mind-blowing.
Are you ready to perform in front of the cameras?
The show technically officially opened in Kansas City, Missouri. And it was just so weird to be doing the show. There’s no audience, just cameras. So it’s like, “Well, I hope you’re all enjoying it.” (laughs) Normally, the audience is laughing and responding to everything. And in all my shows, I would go out to the lobby to talk to people, like a separate party from the show. I would talk to people about Tupperware and help people with their food storage. But in this case, I’m not doing that either. I’m not like going out to the audience at the end and interacting. I thought this would be weird when it’s just the director there and I’m bound to silence. It’s all just weird, but I’m actually excited and making the most of it.
I take a bow at the end and I have a little inspirational quote that pops up at the end of the show. Definitely a little bit different than what I’m used to. Hopefully the audience will play along and be entertained, because obviously the audience is used to having other audience members there to drive their laughter and drive their experience. So it’s a little bit of a gamble, but I’m hoping it pays off and, more than anything, I’m hoping that brings some money into the art centers who need it so badly right now.
Well your personality shines. I don’t think you will have much of a problem bringing the entertainment on screen.
I hope to fill that need for people that want to go out and see theater again. Sure, there’s plenty to watch on TV. There’s tons of Netflix and Amazon Hulu and all the networks, but I think there’s still that loyal thing with the patrons and ticket holders that love to go to the theater and have that experience. So one goal is to bring a little bit of that back to the stage, but put it in their living rooms.
So, what would you say is your most memorable Tupperware party?
I’ve had so many funny instances. I was doing Tupperware parties before I ever did the show. That’s where I got my start. Oh my god, I had this one lady. I’ll never forget. She was an elderly lady and she laughed so hard at something I said, she coughed her false teeth out of her mouth! We thought she was choking or having a heart attack. So everybody ran over to her and made sure she was okay. And then she just lifted her head and her teeth were just sitting there. We laughed so hard, we could barely recover.
And then one time like I was doing, I was doing a live stage show. I’ve got people that sit on the couch with me on stage and there was this one lady was looking disinterested through the whole show. Not really laughing, not particularly being engaged, but just looking at me. And then after, I go into the lobby and I started talking to people and helping them with Tupperware orders and she makes a beeline to me. She says, ‘I have to tell you, I thought that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, and I may have tinkled on the seat.’ Then she walked away from it, so as soon as the show’s over, I ran up there and there it was — a little round wet spot.
So we took a picture of it, and I sent it to the people that ran the theater and they changed everybody’s screensaver in the entire theater organization to that picture for the week. We laughed so hard. How many shows get this kind of response? (laughs)
And what is your best cocktail recommendation?
Oh wow, any cocktail that makes it in your mouth. There’s good parts of this pandemic, I swear. It’s so funny. When I was writing this, I was like, I’m going to make some cocktails during the program. So I tested out all kinds of different house cocktails to decide what’s going to be the one that people know best, what’s going to be the one that people like, what’s most delicious. There’s a local store where I get the ingredients and the people that work there know be my name now. They’re like, ‘You spent so much this year, you’ve made in our platinum club!’ Oh my Lord. So as I was preparing this show I thought ‘Wait a minute. Technically, this is for my job. Does that mean I get to write my alcoholism off my taxes?’
‘Dixie’s Happy Hour’
A VIRTUAL PRESENTATION
February 9 – 21, 2021 at 8 pm
Tickets – $35 per household
Online – SCFTA.org
Phone – (714) 556-2787; Open Monday- Friday, 10 am – 2 pm
Advisory – This show contains adult content.