Now it can be told: after weeks of teasing and delaying, Dame Edna Everage has announced more than eight months' worth of dates for the North American tour of her Broadway hit, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour. Edna, in a colorful, clingy, New York-themed sundress held a press conference June 1, at Sardi's theatrical restaurant, to announce the venues.
Her travels start in the fall, after Edna (and her alter ego, comedian Barry Humphries) take a summer break and honor some commitments in Australia. The first tour stop will be the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, followed by Toronto, Canada. Here's the slate so far:
Oct. 24-Nov. 5: State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
Nov. 7-Dec. 17: Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, Canada
Jan. 2-21, 2001: Parker Playhouse, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Jan. 23-Feb. 4, 2001: Royal Poinciana Playhouse, Palm Beach, FL
Feb. 6-11, 2001: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL
Feb. 20-March 18, 2001: Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA
March 20-25, 2001: Music Hall, Detroit, MI
March 27-April 8, 2001: Shubert Theatre, Chicago, IL
April 17-29, 2001: Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
May 1-13, 2001: Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA
May 15-27, 2001: Shubert Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
June 13-July 2, 2001: Auditorium Theatre, Denver, CO.
As previously reported, Dame Edna will give her final performance at Broadway's Booth Theatre July 2. At the June 1 press conference announcing the tour dates, Dame Edna noted that hers was, "The only Broadway show to leave voluntarily." Previews for the show began Sept. 14, 1999 for an opening Oct. 17, 1999.
Edna hinted there might be other dates besides those listed (she's apparently been sniffing around down south), and also mentioned, jokingly one assumes, "filling in Donna's slot in The Vagina Monologues. Well, perhaps the word `slot' is ill-chosen..." Of the weeklong tour stint in Detroit, Edna indelicately noted, "Hopefully, we can cancel that..." According to production spokesperson Kevin McAnarney, as on Broadway, Dame Edna will be joined by an onstage pianist and two leggy Ednaettes. Dame Edna will leave New York with crowded luggage: Beside the silvery pink wigs, the diamond-studded spectacles and the pumps are a Special Theatre World Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award for special achievement, a Special Achievement Tony Award, and a Drama Desk nomination for solo performance.
The comic creation of the Australian Humphries, Dame Edna is the self proclaimed megastar housewife who dons tiaras and bugle-beaded gowns and dishes out her singular, often politically-incorrect views about modern life.
The run at the Booth has been a sensation, and set records at the theatre. In fall 1999, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour reported a single-day record ticket sale of $90,654, to be surpassed days later with a $92,741 one-day take.
The New York Post reported (June 9) that the show paid back its investors' $900,000 in only seven weeks and has since made a profit of more than $700,000 -- with Edna/Humphries allegedly enjoying a deal that gives her/him 25 percent of the weekly profits.
The show is presented by Leonard Soloway, Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy and Jonathan Reinis. Designers are Kenneth Foy (set), Stephen Adnitt (costumes), Jason Kantrowitz (lighting) and Peter Fitzgerald (sound).
Accompanied now and then by on-stage pianist Phil Reno (Andrew Ross and David Gursky also played in the run) and two leggy "Ednaettes" Roxane Barlow and Amy Heggins (and, earlier, Tamlyn Brooke Shusterman), Edna entertains Broadway audiences with talk of England's Royal family, baby sitters, the lifestyle choices of her children (ushering in the song, "I Never Thought I'd Meet So Many Friends of Kenny...") and her late husband's prostate difficulties. She also tends to remark on audience members' clothing choices and home decorating skills, but only "in the most loving way."
Former Monty Python extra Ian Davidson contributes additional material to the evening, subtitled "The Show That Listens."
Humphries created Edna -- described as a "Melbourne housewife chanteuse swami monstre sacre" -- in 1956. The character first made a splash in Britain with the 1969 show Just a Show. Subsequent London ventures have included A Night with Dame Edna, Back with a Vengeance and 1996's Look at Me When I'm Talking to You.
For tickets and information on Dame Edna call (212) 239-6200.