On Oct. 24, Dame Edna Everage embarked on a North American tour comprising more than eight months' worth of dates for her Broadway hit, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour. After honoring a few commitments in Australia over a summer break, Edna (and her alter ego, comedian Barry Humphries) started the tour at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, and now finishes a stint at Toronto’s Pantages Theatre, Dec. 17. Performances began there Nov. 7.
Edna will now get to spend the winter in the warmer climes of Florida, playing three venues in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Clearwater through mid-February.
Here are the remaining tour dates:
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.
Tour spokesperson Laura Matalon told Playbill On-Line (Oct. 19) that Edna would be accompanied by Wayne Barker on the piano and Teri DiGianfelice and Michelle Pampena as the leggy “Ednaettes.” *
Dame Edna gave her final performance at Broadway's Booth Theatre July 2. At the June 1 press conference announcing the tour dates, Dame Edna, in a clingy and colorful frock, 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 was 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.
Former Monty Python extra Ian Davidson contributed 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.