Black Diamond Burlesque co-founder Laura Daniel Gale will audition anybody. Throughout the years she’s discovered her most talented performers in ordinary people without any burlesque experience who asked to audition.
“Put together a little two-minute act, I would love to see what you do,” Gale said. “Let me know your background, send me some video, pictures, whatever you’ve got. But I will audition anybody. Bring it.”
She just has one rule.
“You’ve got to strip down to pasties and a G-string,” Gale said.
On Saturday, Black Diamond Burlesque will take to its biggest stage yet at the Mertz Theatre at the Asolo Repertory Theatre for its 5th Anniversary Extravaganza.
“I really think we offer a time-machine of an experience that you get to dress up in a bustier and a feather in your hat and fishnets and come and pretend it’s 1948,” Gale said.
The invitation to perform came after the Sarasota Ballet gave Black Diamond Burlesque permission to take cast photos on the stage.
“They said to me, ‘You guys should do a show here,’” Gale said. “I’m like, ‘You do know what we do, right?’ I’m so humbled and honored to be on that stage.”
Gale and her troupe of performers have been “putting glitter in cocktails since 2010.”
“When you sit right at the stage they’re throwing feather boas and glitter,” Gale said. “We call our VIP section ‘the glitter zone.’”
The troupe began performing to sold-out crowds at Selva Grill in 2010 before moving to McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute, which they now call home. The troupe has shows booked through June 2016, but no two shows are alike.
During a performance at McCurdy’s for Halloween 2014, one performer triggered silent smoke alarms with the use of smoke machines during the routine. Things really heated up when Sarasota County firefighters appeared at the theater in uniform. Gale and her performers had audience members convinced that the firefighters were all part of the act.
“At the end of the day the bulk of the show is a good, old-fashioned strip tease,” Gale said. “It is a beautiful girl or a sexy man on stage peeling their clothes off in a sexy, humorous, innocent sort of way. The root of it all is tease. It’s like good love-making.”