MusicThatMadeWE #31: Mary Widow (Season 2 Finale)

1 hour, 35 minutes (audio only version)
2 hours (Patreon exclusive version)

Released: October 1, 2022
Recorded: April 6, 2022

Actual rockstar, Boston’s Mary Widow is a true creature of the night, from performing with Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, stripping in ridiculous and glorious costumes in burlesque shows, and recently completing the horror film MAIRZY DOATS. She goes into her catalog of musical memories, from playing Magenta in Rocky Horror, her dizzying adventure as backup cheerleader for Weird Al Yankovic, and icons like Bowie and Gene Kelly who influenced Mary as a triple threat.

The Music That Made WE is a creation of WEBurlesque Podcast Network, produced by Viktor Devonne.

Listen to this episode:

On this edition of The Music That Made We, Viktor talks to Mary Widow, a Boston based burlesque performer, musician with Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, and actress/writer of the recently completed Mairzy Doats.

“Jump” by Van Halen
Mary says: “I grew up watching probably an excessive amount of MTV and I was obsessed with this song in a way that my mom knew if the video came on, even if I was outside playing, to call me into the house because I wanted to watch [it]… Just the opening notes of this song, wherever I am, however it comes on, I immediately perk right up. This song is one of the first majorly important songs to me in a way that’s just part of my cells I think… There are songs that I think are better, there are songs that I love in very different ways, but this is my first favorite song.”

“Moses” from Singing in The Rain feat. Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly
Mary says: “When I was probably around 9-10ish… our one [family] vacation we would take is we would drive 12 or whatever hours from Massachusetts to my uncle’s house in Virginia Beach. One summer, he was like ‘Have you seen Singing in the Rain?’ and I said that I hadn’t, and he showed it to me. It was like cracking open an egg. I said ‘Oh! This is what I want to do forever.’ I will re-watch this movie anytime… and every time I watch it, I’m like this movie is perfect… It is genuinely one of the things that made me say I want to be a performer for the rest of my life.”

“Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Show feat. Raul Esparza, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Kristen Lee Kelly, and Dick Davett
Mary says: “One of my sort of core root memories is again the mid 80’s. Elvira used to host spooky music videos on VH1. I would go trick or treating, and Halloween is the greatest night of the year. I wanted to make sure I would be home in time for Elvira’s countdown, because Time Warp was I think always number one in the sequence. As a little kid, I had no idea what this thing was, but I knew it was mine. So I would rush home, immediately turn on Elvira while I was sorting my candy out, and pray that I had not missed this weird fucking song.”

“Oh, Donna Clara” by Max Raabe
Mary says: “This was a song that was part of my Black Cat Burlesque repertoire. Jay Cannibal and I did a Red Riding Hood number to this song and we did a tango. The significance of this in my chronological history is that it was one of our more popular acts at the time we were doing it… and we did the big [Dresden Dolls] Halloween show in 2005… It was huge. A massive show. And it was one of those shows where everyone is like ‘oh, I was there.’ So we were part of this massive night of art…and at one point in the evening, I was walking around the balcony and there were people with art installments…and there was this fucking weirdo with this table full of this crazy art that they had made…and it was Walter. So that was the first time I met Walter Sickert.”

“Emerge” by Fischerspooner
Mary says: “There was a concert and the line up was The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fischerspooner, and Iggy Pop… We had not seen Fischer Spooner before, and their live show blew my fucking face off… It is top to bottom curated, every second, a million percent. It is so good… This song is the finale…and in the course of this song… Fischer comes out from the DJ booth, they are wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Artists Have More Fun’, somehow they end up completely covered in blood, confetti is flying, everyone is dancing… and I am sobbing because this is everything.”

“Snip Snip (Suck-a-Thumb)” by Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys; from Shockheaded Peter
Mary says: “In 2001, when Jay Cannibal and I first started dating, one of our first dates was to a museum here in Massachusetts and they had an exhibit about monsters. Part of the exhibit was all of these puppets and they had some of the stuff from Shockheaded Peter the book and they alluded to the Tigerlillies show they had done in the West End and had taken off Broadway. So we got to hear snippets of The Tiger Lillies soundtrack and see parts of this weird puppet, Victorian, junky, dusty looking play… It became a point of reference… In 2005 they brought it back to off Broadway so we went and we saw it… There is this particular scene which is a nightmare sequence and through puppetry they made this giant mosquito flapping winged monster. And the cymbals are crashing and all these things are happening…and at that moment, I had one of those ‘art is life’ moments… This next song is [the Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys] cast recording, because we were giving the rights to make our own cast recording. We made our own arrangements with The Tiger Lillies permission, so these are the Walter Sickert versions of the Shockheaded Peter Soundtrack.”

“Smells Like Nirvana” by Weird Al Yankovic
Mary says: “Oftentimes when you meet your heroes, it goes wrong. This time, I got to meet a hero, and it exceeded my expectations. In 2011, I was at a rehearsal for [local show] Slutcracker, and I overheard two of the dancers talking about how they somehow got to become dancers for the Boston show for Weird Al… I was really happy for my friends and also just dying. I was so jealous. And a day or two before the show, one of the dancers said ‘Guess what? I have a work conflict. Do you want to do it?’ … Halfway through my performance, I started getting cold sweats and blacking out and I realized I rehearsed at full strength for almost 90 minutes… So I am on the stage doing these high kicks, punching these pom-poms into the air, and I start feeling tunnel vision, and I am having the strongest inner monologue with myself I have ever had. I was like ‘ Mary Widow, you have been a performer since you were a fucking child. You are onstage with you childhood hero Weird Al, in front of 2000 people. You are not passing out.’ And I didn’t… The band and the crew are extremely nice. We hung out with them afterwards. Weird Al is genuinely a saint… I am so so thrilled I got that opportunity.”

“Magic Dance” by David Bowie; from Labyrinth
Mary says: “This song is when I die, and the burlesque community has some sort of ‘RIP Mary Widow,’ this is the song. Because this has become my signature act. I have done this act since 2010. This was a movie that was very formative for people of our age and this character specifically appeals to people who are attracted to possibly non-gender conforming individuals. Also people who are attracted to big bulges. I created a Jareth Goblin King act… This is the one.”

“Behave” by Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys
Mary says: “The song that I chose to play, is a song that I love. I think it’s really beautiful. My first instinct would have been to pick one of our more rocking songs, but I chose this one because it’s gorgeous. And I think that Walter and I created beautiful lines together vocally. At our Come Black Magic CD release show in 2016… When we did this song, the audience went silent and just listened to the song and were in the vibe of this song with us the whole time.”

“Mairzy Doats” by the Pied Pipers
Mary says: “Over 2020, I wrote a short film. So a former partner and very good friend of mine and artistic collaborator and I, spent a lot of time over the pandemic seeing each other once a month…and we started creating videos for the Slaughter House Society online shows. We realized that we were very good at making video art together. We stayed at a friend’s a-frame cabin in New Hampshire in October of 2020 to live stream and watch the Slaughter House show we had made, and while we were there, some shenanigans happened and some conversations happened… So we had this whole conversation about life and love and death and all of these things and we just had a moment where we were like ‘Oh wait…this is a movie.’ So we kind of sat with it and in December of 2020 wrote a script and by the spring of 2021 we had a director attached… We shot it in October of 2021 and it just premiered about two weeks ago at the Boston Underground Film Festival… My cousin Brendan, he is a professional musician who does music for commercials, I asked him to do the score for our short film, and it’s so beautiful. This project has been my darling, the joy of my heart for the last two years.”


Produced by Viktor Devonne, reigning Mr Hollywood Burlesque WEBurlesque Podcast Nework is the creation of Viktor Devonne. Podcast Network logo artwork by Logan Laveau, WEBurlesque the Podcast cover art photography by Atticus Stevenson. Incidental music via under fair use. Visit for notes on this and every episode.

Follow @weburlesque and @viktordevonne on just about every platform, and support the podcast via or via Venmo @Viktor-Devonne. Don’t got the cash? Please follow, subscribe, and give 5 stars on every platform you can get your hands on. It really does help.

All original material is owned by Viktor Devonne and White Elephant Burlesque Corporation; all other materials property of their respective copyright. No infringement, while likely, is intended.

Special thank-you to Raina Sinclair for transcription services.


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