#116. Everyday Showgirl w/ Rosie Cheeks

64 minutes

Released: November 30, 2020
Recorded: October 28, 2020



On this episode of WEBurlesque The Podcast, Viktor Devonne has a talk with producer, performer, actress, and costume designer Rosie Cheeks.

Like many people before her, Rosie came to New York with a dream:

RC (4:28) “So I went to college for fashion design. When I came up to New York I kind of had the idea of I’ll either go into fashion design or musical theater. I’ll do whatever happens first. I have a very good friend who is in the fashion industry and I went to a lot of parties with him and I realized pretty quickly that was not my scene… and I went to a couple of auditions and booked something from that and just took that path. “

After living the life of an auditioning actress for several years,  Rosie felt that maybe it was time to go in a different direction and try something new. It was then that she found burlesque:

RC (7:25-11:00) “I got really jaded by auditioning. I wasn’t naive anymore….auditions became the end all be all. I either get this or I don’t have work. I put a lot of pressure on myself.  And so I decided to take some time off… I had always thought about burlesque so I decided to sign up for Jo Boobs Coney Island Masterclass… I felt like if I could get over my hurdle of being onstage by myself that I would be really good at it. And I always had this feeling deep inside that I could be good at burlesque. It was almost what I was doing in musical theater. I was always playing showgirls. “

The pandemic may have put her live performance career on hold, but that hasn’t stopped Rosie from pursuing other projects. By using social media, she realized she could use her show girl expertise to put a little sparkle in other people’s day to day lives:

RC (22:20) “I recently started an Instagram called Everyday Showgirl. I had a friend recently ask me what I was an expert at….the more I thought about it I realized I’m pretty expert at being a showgirl. And I’d love for more people to embrace that in themselves….taking little things everyday and being encouraging and supportive of a community of show girls….I would love to have an army of them all over.”

Before quarantine, Rosie spent little under year producing Burlesk at Birdland, a famous midtown club for music and entertainment. While getting the show on it’s feet took some work, Rosie is really looking forward to getting back to it and making the show a well oiled machine that she can be proud of:

RC (37:15) “It came into my life because my husband has been doing graphics for Birdland for many many years. And when they opened up the theater space and wanted something other than just jazz, we were there. Started out as a weekly show which is so much work as a producer.  Those first few months I felt I couldn’t get my head above water…to make it what I wanted to be. I also felt pressure to get people in seats…especially in Midtown which is not really known for burlesque anymore. But, I absolutely loved producing that show.”

Despite mostly being known as a classical performer, Rosie does have a guilty pleasure of occasionally performing nerdlesque. Specifically, nerdlesque as male characters:

RC (45:20) “When I was asked to do Game of Thrones I had never even seen Game of Thrones. And I did end up watching it and loving it until the final season like everyone else. I think it’s just more the characters. Who I think I could have fun doing…it’s more the attitude…which is why I think it’s fun and ridiculous…if I’m getting ready to do one of the guys, I’m definitely different backstage…I kind of just hang back into me.”

Though nerdlesque is often considered much more niche than the classical showgirl performance, Rosie does her best to get inside a character’s head and do an act even the truly committed fans will appreciate. No matter what kind of burlesque you do, at the end of the day it is always about the story you are trying to convey to the audience:

RC (49:40) “Because the nerdlesque community is such a special community and they have something invested usually to whatever theme it is I really want to do it justice…What I try to do is (ask) how does this character take off their clothes? How does this character do burlesque? I think that’s more what my style is.” 


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