In High Hopes, High Hair, Hygiene, Miss Richfield, a former Minnesota beauty queen, "leaves audiences wiser, happier, and smelling fresh" with a mix of "song, dance or educational film strip."
Miss Richfield 1981 is the creation of Russ King, who has been performing as Miss R since 1996. The show "is part cabaret, part theatrical event and a whole lot of audience participation," according to production notes.
New York-based fans have seen Miss R while vacationing in Provincetown and on Atlantis Events cruises and at resorts. King is based in Minneapolis and hopes Miss Richfield's debut leads to a wider life in the Big Apple.
High Hopes, High Hair, Hygiene is directed by Michael Baron and written by Russ King, with additional material by Larry Amoros and Will Nolan.
According to biographical information, "Dedicating her life to sharing the good tidings from the friendly citizens and responsible merchants of her hometown, Miss Richfield 1981 is fast becoming one of America's national treasures. Although she loves her native land, Miss R continues to spend most of her time traveling extensively throughout the country. In appearances that range from entertaining scientists at the National Association of Corrosion Experts in New Orleans, moderating The Morgan Horse Semen Auction in Phoenix, and singing as featured soloist with Doc Severinsen and the Minnesota Orchestra, Miss R proves that her Midwestern sensibilities are appreciated by many at home and abroad." Miss Richfield has also appeared in the Toyota Comedy Festival in New York City, with a full-length cabaret show at HERE in Soho and stand-up at Catch A Rising Star. She's made appearances on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Today" on NBC.
Miss R spends the year traveling throughout the country, performing at private and corporate events, on cruises and at resort vacation spots, as well as spending summers performing at the Crown & Anchor Cabaret in Provincetown, MA. "However, Miss R continues to return to the Twin Cities as often as possible to see family and to touch base with the people and the land that made her career in beauty so successful."
Russ King grew up in Richfield, Minnesota, "a first-ring blue-collar suburb of Minneapolis." The son of a plumber, King was the youngest of four boys in a conservative Baptist home that forbade dancing, movies and card games. After graduation from Richfield High School in 1981, King attended the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and studied mass communications with an emphasis on journalism. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in his home state of Minnesota at Bemidji State University in 1986. Following his dreams of writing for the press, King worked as a reporter and editor of newspapers in Greater Minnesota, before returning to the Twin Cities to become the Communications Director of the Minnesota AIDS Project for five years.
After an impromptu idea of spicing up a friend's party in drag, King took his beauty queen creation of Miss Richfield 1981 to the stage in February of 1996, and began performing at Twin Cities bars and benefits. His cabaret career started one year later at the Bryant Lake Bowl Cabaret in Minneapolis. This eclectic establishment boasting a restaurant, bar, bowling alley and cabaret "was a perfect introduction for Miss Richfield 1981 to hit the mainstream crowds who now enjoy her Midwestern sensibilities."
King and his alter ego have been recognized as one of the Twin Cities most creative artists and runner-up for "Artist of the Year" by the Star Tribune Newspaper of the Twin Cities.
Ars Nova is at 511 W. 54th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. For tickets visit www.arsnovanyc.com or www.smarttix.com. For more information on Miss Richfield 1981, visit her website at www.missrichfield.com.