Jack the Pumpkin King Hosts a Hauntingly Raunchy Burlesque

Don’t miss the Tim Burton Inspired This is Halloween show at the Triple Door


My birthday is just a few days shy of the most frightening holiday all year, so naturally I overdid the haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and terrifying movies well before I hit puberty. I hate pumpkin spice lattes, and am kind of tired of seeing varying versions of disney princess costumes year after year (parents – where is the creativity? My mom got “crafty” by shoving a metallic sack around a hoola hoop, in an effort to jimmy rig a Hersey kiss costume for me, and you can’t think past a pretty blonde girl?). A lot of spooky things can be overplayed this time of year, but you know what never gets tiring? Skelton pasties, nip slips, and a well endowed Santa wearing nothing save a single strategically placed silk stocking.

The Can Can’s 9th annual production of This is Halloween is playing now through Oct 31st at the Triple Door, featuring all of your favorites from Halloweentown including an eerie yet charming Jack Skellington, Sally and Dr. Finkelstein, and the massive creepy blob that is Oogie Boogie. I had some time to sit down with the brains behind this hauntingly raunchy production, Can Can owner Mr. Pink.

This is Halloween
Photo by Mike Savoia

1) Give me a little background on the inspiration for This is Halloween – costumes, choreography, sets, etc.

Halloween has always been a big part of our organization because of the organic similarities of the holiday and our everyday cabaret performance lives. Drag, costumes, make-up and alternate personas are things we do everyday. There’s very little difference between the two realities. Those similar parallels are what made THIS IS HALLOWEEN such a natural fit for our annual repetore. The primary inspiration of the show is Nightmare Before Christmas which has been one of my favorite movies since it’s release. It straddles the line between cabaret, opera and theater in a way that we can very much relate to. Although the basic spirit  of Nightmare remains, we have twisted it beyond recognition and made it our own through original choreography, sets, costumes and music which have been creations of the Can Can creative team.

2) If you had to pick a scene that steals the show what would it be?

The Oogie Boogie scene continues to be a crowd favorite year after year. He’s such a lovable villain isn’t he? So much so, we are planning a children’s show for 2016 based on Oogie.

3) This isn’t your first rodeo – what is unique to this year’s production that patrons who have seen it before won’t want to miss?

We try to reinvent the show each year to keep things fresh and artistically satisfying. This year we started with collaborations with artists John Cristitello and Mike Klay in the creation of poster art and street level promotional materials. For the stage we added new choreography by Fae Pink and staging by Jon Betchtel, brand new illustrations for costumes and sets by the artist that created our original set art, Olivia Knapp. Our visual and projection engineer Tj Davis, Jonathan Houser, Jon Betchtel and I collaborated on the creation of the Jack Skellington ghost special effect, which makes an appearance during Sally’s solo…super minimal but extremely effective. ‎Also, some new songs and musical arrangements by Eric Padget debut this year, which adds a little extra spice in the musical dept. This is all topped off with new handmade masks by Danny Boulet and Elijah Evenson.

4) Do you have a funny story or secret to share from rehearsals?

Our 10 month old baby came to some of the rehearsals and found his favorite perch to be the stripper pole from the Oogie Boogie scene. I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. I want to be encouraging but….

5) What else do you have brewing for 2016? Where else can we find your work?

It’s a big year for us, we are getting ready to launch our 2016 season at Can Can in the Market, with a new version of our successful winter show WONDERLAND running through January, and we are creating an all new super sexy show called F‎RENCH KISS running February through May. We will also launch a brand new Halloween show in 2016 for our Market location.

Don’t miss This is Halloween at the Triple Door now through October 31st!