VICE PALACE – All Singing! All Dancing! All Hedonism!!!

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

VICE PALACE: The Last Cockettes Musical is a must-see. The Prudent and the Easily Offended need take note: there is plenty of gender bending, gratuitous male nudity and the female form divine (genetic and otherwise). Now at the Thrillpeddlers’ Hypnodrome until July 31st, the show is a madcap splurge into Theatre of the Ridiculous and Grand Guignol. It’s like The Hollywood Canteen meets The Masque of the Red Death. Outside is The Plague. But welded-shut inside the villa of “Signorina Divina” (Leigh Crow) and its series of colorful rooms are a lucky number of pleasure-seeking guests who will scoff at Death and indulge in endless La Dolce Vita. They intend to keep each other amused with a series of luxurious, intemperate, profligate mini-productions – the challenge being, each number gets increasingly more bizarre. Following Thrillpeddlers 22-month run of Pearls Over Shanghai — is this possible? Oh, yes! OMG!
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: VICE PALACE

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Leigh Crow (center) – as “Signorina Divina”
Photo, Daniel Nicoletta

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Russell Blackwood (center), Joshua Devore, Steven Satyricon
Photo, Daniel Nicoletta

VICE PALACE was incarnated during Halloween of 1972. Nearly thirty-nine years in the re-making, original composer Scrumbly Koldewyn (Pearls Over Shanghai, Hot Greeks) has added seven new numbers to his already appealingly debauched score. Among the great hits are Divorcées’ Lament – performed by Birdie-Bob West (as “Vagina Dentata”), Jim Toczyl (as “Polo”, a wealthy cross-dresser), T.J. Buswell (as “Paolo”, a singer/swinger), and the Vice Palace Chorus. A Crab On Uranus, featuring L. Ron Hubby (as the socialite, “Sylva Koscina”) and Scrumbly himself (as “Sarafina”, a musician) crooning-out Midnight In Manhattan are totally outstanding musical numbers in this lyrically clever, erotically tantalizing, so South of Market-type revue.

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Laura LeBleu, Tony Wichowski, L. Ron Hubby,
Joshua Devore (a.k.a Tober Brandt), and Tina Sogliuzzo.
Photo, David Wilson

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LAURA LeBLEU and FENNEL SKELLYMAN — STE FISHELL (center)
Photos, Daniel Nicoletta

ABOUT THRILLPEDDLERS

Thrillpeddlers have been performing their unique brand of horror and fetish theatre in San Francisco since 1991. Under the direction of Russell Blackwood, Thrillpeddlers are continuously engaged in translating, adapting and producing classic plays from the infamous repertoire of Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol and producing other works inspired by the Grand Guignol tradition. The company’s performance venue, The Hypnodrome (located at 575 10th Street, near Bryant & Division), is tailor-made for the specific needs of horror theatre, musical extravaganzas, and “lights-out” spook show spectacle. Inaugurating The Hypnodrome with WELCOME TO THE HYPNODROME in 2004, Thrillpeddlers have gone on to produce wildly popular Grand Guignol bills including BLOOD BUCKET BALLYHOO, HYPNODROME HEAD TRIPS, FLAMING SIN, and AUDACIOUS ARTEFACTS. SHOCTOBERFEST!! – Thrillpeddlers’ annual pageant of terror and titillation – is now in its 12th year and has become a San Francisco Halloween favorite.

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Steven Satyricon, Tina Sogliuzzo, and Joshua Devore
Photo, David Wilson

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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