Another Openin’ Another Show!
For 24 of the last 30 years, members of the ICNY have poured their heart and souls into creating an opening that will grab the attention of the audience and hold onto it.
Your humble correspondent still recalls sitting in the audience at her first Night of a Thousand Gowns in 1998 and marveling at a 12 minute version of “Mame!” Of course, I was a little annoyed that Empress XI Gianna had chosen to wear Lucy’s red outfit from the film rather than Angela Lansbury’s golden pajamas, but you can’t have everything — it was fabulous. That was likely the 5th of an eventual 20 opening numbers choreographed by the inimitable Empress X Ran-Dee.
Ran-Dee was a master stager: she could edit and encapsulate a show down to it’s most iconic moments, understand the amateur (in the best sense of the word) talent she was working with and figure out how to make it all look spectacular. Costumes, kicklines, sass and a wink and nod to Broadway musicals and the occasional foray into pop (Disco? Really Craig and B? DISCO?) were her stock in trade, and whether a mini-musical, a medley or a full on folly, Ran-Dee and her partner Gianna delivered.
Getting together with 20-30 other courtiers for five nights of rehearsal was also great bonding time. Learning the steps, relearning the steps, learning them again (who said we can remember them for 24 hours? We’ve got the lipsynch too!) The productions have ranged from the elaborately costumed to the simply chic, and are always a lot of fun!
Sadly for ICNY, Ran-Dee retired to Florida in the mid-oughts, and stopped staging the opening number after 2013’s “Live Laugh and Love!” but fabulous and fierce new stagers have taken up the mantle and we’re all looking forward to the Vegas Spectactular being staged for NOATG31 on March 11 by Michael Blackmon-Ham (Viscountess Dominique St. James.)
Here are a few of the opening numbers available online:
Reign XXIX Emperor XXIV Opi N. Yated and Empress XXIX Madison Mansfield (choreographed by M. Blackmon-Ham)
If you have access to more videos of Night of A Thousand Gowns Opening Numbers, please email Witti at MsWittiR@aol.com and I will include it here!