Don’t think for a second that 2020 slowed the momentum of one of RI’s most popular vaudevilles. Larry’s Lounge Variety Show, named for the old dive it started at in 2014, is a variety show that defines itself in surprises from the wackiest and wildest to the wholesome and emotionally-gripping. It’s an event where New England talent from all platforms and backgrounds step out of their norms and give performances you won’t see anywhere else. This year, they are making up for the pandemic pandemonium with a “two for the price of one” showcase called “Larry’s Lounge #18/19/2021”.
“We wanted to make this show special,” said founder Nick Ventura. “This show we are trying to honor [the performers] that were originally going to be at the show last year.”
Ventura’s excitement grew audibly, eager to tell me everything, but holding back just enough so nothing would be spoiled. “Some of the regulars are coming back, but we’re going to do something a little different than normal.” A few of the faces he hinted we would see include The New Providence Big Band’s Katie Kleyla, singer/burlesque star Maiden X, and the insane sideshow of Doctor Finnegan’s Circus. Sharing the stage with the classic “Larry’s Legends” will be a lot of new acts making their Lounge debut. “There will be no dead time. Every act will be keeping the audience’s attention.”
Ask anyone who has attended past gigs what Larry’s Lounge is all about, and they will share a performance or two that they treasure. Some of those memories include Eric Auger as Baaab The Goat singing “The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music, AJ Salemi singing “White Rabbit” from atop the bar at The Parlour, and Kurt Fowl grooving with the audience in his transformation from Slash into Axl Rose. And it isn’t just a song-and-dance affair. Past shows included chugging contests, staged hecklers, short films, obnoxious spotlights, and spoken word performances that left the room in stunned silence.
“We regroup after each show to know what we want more of, less of, and try to stay one step ahead of the audience,” said Ventura. “With a live show, you’ve got to go through the range of emotions. There’s something about the visceral energy to it.” Until then, the Larry’s Lounge continues to embrace their community by welcoming local businesses to sponsor in many ways. “You could sponsor an act, an intermission, or even the whole show!” Even some food for that hardworking staff would be nice.
Larry’s Lounge Variety Show #18/19/2021 is on Thursday, Dec. 23rd at the Met in Pawtucket. The show opens at 7 pm for an 18+ crowd. Presale tickets are selling fast for $10 ($15 at the door) on etix.com.