Scott Shoemaker is a hilarious writer, director and performer that has had a hand in many of Seattle’s best burlesque shows. After recently starring as the boisterous clairvoyant Leonora Doddington in Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor, Scott is returning to the stage in his brand-new holiday special, “Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas coming to Re-Bar on December 7th through the 23rd. It promises to the must see show of the season!
Scott, thank you so much for agreeing to give us a little sneak peek. This show is a pretty big deal for you! What does it take to write, direct and star in a show like this?
It takes up our whole lives! Luckily, I don’t do it alone. My partner Freddy Molitch creates these shows with me and he is a very talented writer and director.
This show in particular is certainly a bear. We are used to producing the “Ms. Pak-Man” cabaret shows which are a bit simpler to stage and only have a cast of three (myself and the amazing Ghostettes Erin Stewart and Amalia Larson). The War on Christmas, however, has a lot more moving parts, a bigger cast and is structurally more complicated, so it’s certainly been a challenge. It’s also all new original material, and that’s always scary, because you really have no idea how it’s going to go over. But if an idea one of us comes up with makes the other one laugh, then we figure that at least somebody else is going to think its funny! Hopefully, anyway.
Creating shows like this is exhausting and can really drain you, but the exhilaration of the creative process and the end result certainly make it worth it. We’re very lucky to be able to do it.
You’ve been working in Seattle for over 15 years now with a hefty number of productions under your belt including Homo for the Holidays, Ms. Pacman: Multiple Lives, Camptacular, Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor and now The War on Christmas. What is it about Seattle’s cabaret and burlesque scene that keeps you coming back for more?
Although things are changing in Seattle, it has historically afforded fringe theater / cabaret / burlesque / drag artists the opportunity to create independent work that is weird and risky, and in turn has attracted a smart fringe theater-going audience that supports that weird and risky stuff. Yes, the demographics here are changing and it’s getting much more expensive to produce shows here, but that core audience that comes out to support these kinds of shows are still here, and that’s what keeps us coming back for more. We love producing shows for the folks in Seattle and are proud to be in a long line of weirdos that have made Seattle their creative home.
What can we expect from The War on Christmas that sets it apart from the other projects that you’ve collaborated on?
The War on Christmas is uncharted territory for Freddy and I. Most of the stuff we do is purely for laughs, but this has a bit of a political undercurrent. It also has some of the most bizarre and absurd things we’ve ever done in any show, and for us that’s really saying something. And while it’s as edgy as our typical work, it also has a little more heart, which is a change for us. We’re usually pretty cynical jerks.
You’ve worked with many of the best performers Seattle has to offer including BenDeLaCreme, INGA, Major Scales, Kitten N’Lou, and this new cast is no different. Ade, Waxie Moon, Faggedy Randy Mandy Price are long time performers in Seattle and are starring in this new production. What excites you most about working with the incredible cast of the War on Christmas?
Pretty much everything! What I particularly love is that they are all brilliant solo artists in their own fields that bring different areas of expertise to the show. Their ideas and their collaboration in the creation of the show are invaluable. I respect them all so much, and the show wouldn’t be the same without their individual creativity and sensibilities.
I have to say that I always love the idea of a Christmas comedy show, because you have so much material to work with. Besides poking some fun at Santa Claus, What kind of hi jinks will you be getting into on stage?
The show is jam packed with songs, dances, a burlesque number, skits, dramatic soliloquies and general insanity. There are so many cool costumes and special effects, and the lighting design is outrageous. The designers we’ve had the pleasure of working with on this show are the absolute best in town. But what I think is especially cool is that the cast gets to do some things that they don’t get to do in other shows and it’s amazingly fun to see them do something different. The show is full of surprises and we can’t wait to see people’s reactions!
Well that sounds like a pretty good time to me! Scott thank you so much for answering our questions and giving us a little sneak peak. I have no doubt that all your hard work will pay off and I cannot wait to see you at Re-bar this weekend.
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