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.

BY Lawrence Ferber

December 23 2008 1:00 AM ET

 MADAME RICK X390 (MARLENA SHELL) | ADVOCATE.COM

In keeping with the new, young generation of LGBTQ
people, do you see Madame being more outrageously gay or
political in her shtick?
MS: Wayland was openly gay, and I think the
reason the gay audience was always our base is that gays
always understood camp. Madame has the same audience
as Madonna, Cher, Bette Midler, or any of the other
women [who understand that sensibility].

Madame: Wayland was way ahead of his time. I
think he deserves an award, a medal. I think all those
people who open the doors do. He was a wonderful
person. I was his mouthpiece a lot of the time, but he
really broke down a lot of walls.

Did Wayland ever meet Liberace?MS: Oh, of course we knew Lee.

Was that awkward?MS: No, Lee was kind of nice, a sweet guy and
also very shy.

So I guess Madame didn’t bring up his affairs…MS: No, but believe me, Lawrence, I know more
than I want to know about that.

Where will the tour take you over the next few months?Madame: We’re going to be doing lots of
casinos but are heading towards TV. We want to go out to
California and visit all my friends -- little Jimmy
Kimmel and little Ellen. All those people.

MS: There are some good possibilities in regard
to her going on TV shows. Of course, years ago she was on
every popular talk show and variety show. Today
it’s a little bit different, but we’re
looking at a few things.

Madame: I would love to appear on that Project
Runway
and have one of them sew up something for
me. They would make a gown, only tiny. They sew and they
sew and sometimes the dress is just so-so. Have you seen
that Christian Siriano? With that little bird on his
head or whatever that is, like a little Tweety Bird
sanctuary. I’d like him to make something for me and
let Carson Kressley fix it. He wants to make me look good
naked? Bring an iron and steam shovel.

Will Madame’s Place be released on DVD?MS: There’s been some talk about it. Wayland
used to hum songs [on the show] a lot, so I think it would
be a very expensive show to bring back today with the
music rights. Possibly once we start making it very
big and have our own TV show again, maybe that’s
when they’ll think of releasing it.

Will there be cameos from Wayland’s other
characters, like Crazy Mary or Jiffy, down the line?
Madame: Yes, absolutely. We’re going to put
Mary in the show very soon. As soon as we get her out of her
suite at Bellevue.

Let’s end with a pressing, important question:
Is there more plastic in Madame or Joan Rivers?
Madame: We have the same doctor! She has
aluminum siding, that’s what it is.

See MadameAndMe.com for more information.

Tags: Theater

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