Envoute Magic Burlesque
Adam I., Producer of Envoûté
What is your professional background?
I am actually a History major. Worked in archives and depositories all my life. However, I dabble quite a bit in theater and am a magician on the side. I always appreciated the appeal of Vaudeville, Penny Dreadful, Victorian theater, and (of course) burlesque so a lot of this is not only visible in the way I dress and act but also in my performances and design styles.
Marion St. James, my amazing co-producer, is in neurology but, like myself, has a background in theater. We actually met during a production of an independent musical that I hired her for to perform in.
It’s pronounced En-Voû-Té. What’s the story behind the name?
It is the “you plural” of the verb that means “to spellbind”. We wanted something French to fit with the classy venue at L’Etage and also the Belle Epoque/Art Nouveau elegant aesthetic we strive to achieve.
What made you inspired you to create this unique show?
As I said before, I have always been enamored with the vaudeville style and have dabbled in theater and magic my whole life. During the indie production I mentioned above my friend and I came up with an idea to spruce up some of the scenes in the show so added a little bit of burlesque here and there. As magicians, he and I came up with the idea of mixing this newfound interest in burlesque with our passion for illusions and, thus, the seed for was Envoûté planted.
What has been your favorite act?
You are asking me a very hard question. We have done so many acts with so many performers and so many different themes over the past years. Ugh.
Okay, so, our first act ever was a three-girl chair tease which was just a stunning opening to our first show ever. That, or Marion’s umbrella routine that we worked on for months where she does a striptease and makes umbrellas appear from nowhere. Those two just have a special place in my memory.
As for a show...maybe either of our Midnight in Paris shows or the Addams Family show. Those were both legendary performances.
If we are going for a performer, I have to be biased and mention Envoûté’s headliner: Tesla Tease. She is, honestly, one of the most talented performers I have ever seen. Deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
What has driven growth behind your business?
We are extraordinary networkers. Since Envoûté has a speakeasy-like appeal we tend not to go crazy with advertising and yet we still pull large and dedicated crowds. We are also a very inviting group. We welcome virgins and veterans to the burlesque scene alike both in our audience and on our stage. Nobody should feel left out. Instead we push for deep immersion into our themes both for performers and onlookers. We welcome new performers as well which tends to bring big crowds of people looking to support their new career choice.
Our other channel for growth comes from our immense ambition. We are always looking to mount and defeat a challenge. One day someone said “hey, wait to do a whole show in black and white?” and we jumped to it, collecting body paint and building set pieces with bold contrast in light and dark and thus a Film Noir show was born! That’s just how we work. Continually working on better, more interesting, and more innovative experimental styles in our shows. It keeps things fresh and exciting.
What challenges do you face?
Getting the word out about our troupe, being such a face-to-face kind of promoter, was very hard at first. We have to always balance that boutique-y, speakeasy theme while still keeping our audiences coming back. it took a few years but, eventually, our saving grace was a dedicated audience that we had a great rapport with and, also, getting the whole troupe involved in promotions and passing the word around.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Push yourself, be stubborn, and never stop doing new and more interesting things. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I don’t know if this is appropriate for the blog, but, our motto before going onstage each night is “Don’t fuck up!”