Like “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” Bridget Everett never uttered a direct word about the new president-elect during her Nov. 12 performance at The Vic Theatre in Chicago, which was presented by Jam Productions, instead putting all of her energy into delivering a fun-filled, hilarious escape for all who were in attendance. “This has been a crazy week, and I needed this,” she said near the end of her set, provoking a cathartic release felt throughout the joyful oasis.
Drag king extraordinaire Murray Hill kicked things off with a light and funny set that conjured vaudevillian vibes of years past. “It’s been a hell of a f*cking week,” he said at the top of the show before setting the stage for the “anything goes” antics of Everett’s one-of-a-kind cabaret. The Murray Hill Challenge foreshadowed the unique audience interaction that would soon follow as three fans stepped into the spotlight for a pop culture dance-off decided by applause.
Everett emerged like a hurricane, opening her set with “F*ck Sh*t Up,” singing, “Everybody better freak the f*ck out ’cause The Bridge is coming down and she’s turning it out/No one can tell where that woman’s been but she’s smiling in the night with a mouthful of sin.” As she danced with two bottles of chardonnay in hand – as multiple wardrobe changes were completed – fans knew that they were in for a wild ride. Near the end of the song she shared the first of many pearls of wisdom from her mother saying, “There’s three things in life that matter – livin’ large, lovin’ large and Barry f*cking Manilow.”
Over a whisper of tender music, Everett continued to share stories from her life – and bucket list goals like playing Madison Square Garden – while relating with the crowd on their own experiences. A coming-of-age memory served as the perfect lead-in to a triumphant rendition of “Titties,” which she amended to include some Chicago-centric lyrics. “You got them Chi-Town, Windy City, Game 7 titties/Put ’em up, Put ’em up, Put ’em up,” she sang to the enthusiastic audience.
It was at this point that Everett spotted something “very unexpected” in the crowd, an older gentleman who she affectionately dubbed “Gary.” The reluctant fan proved to be a focal point for the cabaret performer, and it seems that the infatuation will continue as she made plans to celebrate Christmas with him and his wife, “Mary.”
Gary didn’t “have the bone density” to participate in Everett’s epic closing number, but she found a strapping young man who “swings both ways” in the front row to join her on stage for the climax of the night. “Get on that stool,” she instructed him before singing the opening lines of Miley Cyrus’ opus, “The Climb.” As the ballad progressed, Everett choreographed a performance for the history books. She may not have yet reached that goal of performing at Madison Square Garden, but it is clear that she is well on her way.
Everett will continue to generate joy and laughter with the Pound It Tour through December. Head over to BridgetEverett.net to stay up-to-date with her future plans.