Premieres Sunday, February 14, $125-$325, 8:00
For fifteen years, Brooklyn-based baroque burlesque troupe Company XIV has been dazzling audiences with sexy dance, music, and acrobatics in dramatic, fabulous costumes, re-creating fairy tales and other stories (Cinderella, Snow White, Queen of Hearts, Seven Sins) with an unabashed joy. During the presentation, the cast members make their way through the crowd, interacting with blissful guests who are sitting on lush couches, classy chairs, and intimate booths, eating and drinking as the performers spin from the ceiling, swirl on poles, reinterpret familiar standards, and dance in glittery, revealing outfits. It’s more of a happening than a mere show. So what to do during a pandemic lockdown, when Company XIV is unable to welcome audiences to its fashionable home on Troutman Ave. in Bushwick?
Founder and artistic director Austin McCormick has moved things online with XIValentine, a virtual holiday extravaganza premiering February 14 at 8:00 and available on demand for thirty days. Joining in on the raunchy reverie are aerialist, pole dancer, and soprano Marcy Richardson, aerialist, musician, and dancer Nolan McKew, powerhouse singer Storm Marrero, magician Matthew Holtzclaw, dancer and acrobat Nicholas Katen, actor and singer Brandon Looney, juggler Sam Urdang, dancer and choreographer Nicole von Arx, singer and specialty performer Syrena, and dancers Lilin, Scott Schneider, and Melissa Anderson, along with an appearance by canine cutie Macaron McCormick. The scenic design and costumes are by the amazing Zane Pihlström, who has never met a swath of red velvet and sequins he couldn’t turn into something fabulous.
At its in-person productions, Company XIV offers different levels of ticketing; the more you pay, the more you get, including greater interaction with the cast and better food and drink. The troupe is attempting to recapture that feeling by offering four ways to experience the fifty-minute XIValentine. The thirty-day streaming pass is $125; the Be Mine package comes with chocolate truffles, The Male Nude or 1000 Pin-Up Girls book, and a canvas tote for $160; the Champagne Package features glasses, candles, bar soap, a bath bomb, and a quilted tote for $195; and the Lust Package consists of a rabbit mask, a gold riding crop, black nipple covers, a black beeswax corset candle, passionfruit CBD gummies, a chocolate fondue set, and both a quilted and canvas tote, for $325. Did we point out that things can get pretty kinky with Company XIV, both on- and offstage? In addition, if you live in New York City, you can get Champagne and cocktails delivered to your building. It’s always an expensive night out with Company XIV, and now it’s an expensive night in, but there’s nothing else like it.
If it’s all a bit much, you can go for the virtual edition of the seasonal favorite Nutcracker Rouge, where a $50 ticket provides you with a twenty-four-hour streaming pass to access eight acts (performed by Richardson, Lilin & LEXXE, Troy Lingelbach, Katen & McKew, Demi Remick, Christine Flores, Làszlò Major & Looney, and Jourdan Epstein, Pretty Lamé & Jacoby Pruitt), while $75 extends the pass to fourteen days and adds two weeks of bespoke cocktail lessons.