The Divine Miss M.

Since the death of performer Wayland Flowers in 1988, his over-the-top puppet creation Madame has been seen only sporadically. But with the launch of her new casino tour, Madame is back.




What is the new show like, and how does it compare
to the '70s and '80s routines?
Madame: It’s got songs and traces my whole
life, my backstory -- my days in vaudeville, my movie
years -- it’s got multimedia, I sing songs and
tell stories. I think back then a lot of people were doing
shows like this. Debbie Reynolds, all my old fiends, Lauren
Bacall. Every star had a show like this. But nowadays
people don’t. So we brought this up to 2008
standards with videos and commentary running. A little
harder-edged. It’s hilariously raunchy.

MS: We’re trying to keep her pretty much the
same. We were recently in Texas and in fact the owner
of the club had seen Wayland many times in
Provincetown, which is basically where he started. He was
taken back. Today people will come up to Madame and
whisper in her ear or say, Do you remember in
Provincetown, you and Wayland did this? That to me is
outrageous, thinking that Madame remembers after all these
years. But they do. 

Who’s dirtier -- you or Kiki of Kiki & Herb?
Would you like to collaborate with Kiki?
Madame: I think Kiki must be with a name like that.
I’m just a little cheeky. Cut me a check and
I’ll work with anybody.

How about Lamb Chop?MS: It’s funny. About 18 months before
Wayland’s death, he and Shari Lewis were in a
car accident. He called me up in a panic: "Come pick
me up -- I just had an accident with Lamb Chop!" I think
Shari’s daughter is trying to bring her back,
but Lamb Chop was a totally different character.
Mainly for children, and we don’t allow children to
see our show. Of course, they were on Solid
for four years and that was for children, so Madame
can be for kids too, but we’re not doing TV at
the moment. We have really an adult show.

Madame: Anyone 21 or older is welcome. I just got
back from Houston on Thanksgiving and we had a lot of
college kids. They loved it.

Are you into younger men, Madame?Madame: Well, they’re into me, actually.
Sometimes two at a time! It’s a little risky at
my age, but if they die, they die.

Tags: Theater