‘Sugar Babies’ brings burlesque to IVCC stage


Kyle Russell

Cast members (left to right) Elizabeth Voitik, Emily Hanck, Anna Klobnak, Reilly Jaeger, and Emery Stewart pose during rehearsal.

IVCC will host a Spring Musical “Sugar Babies” in the month of April. The cast has been working continuously for two months preparing for the musical.

“Sugar Babies” starred Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller in its Broadway run, and director Don Grant Zellmer worked extensively with Rooney in his touring show. “Sugar Babies” will take audiences back on a trip to the burlesque era.

Seasoned local actress Emily Hanck helped describe IVCC’s interpretation of the Broadway show: “This is a different show than people are used to seeing… it’s a show within a show about burlesque. It has awesome costumes and funny skits that people will belly-laugh at.”

The play is directed by Zellmer and consists of comedy skits, dancing, and burlesque. The play is fast paced with tap and singing. Though the play does not go overboard, it is not conservative.

Zellmer states, “I have been in and produced several productions of Sugar Babies,” Zellmer said, “and always found the show to be a riot. Working with Mickey and doing some of those sketches with ‘the Master’ really gave me a love of the old Burlesque comedy style.”

The show is a fast-moving revue that pays loving tribute to the comics, singers, and “Burly-Cuties” that sang and danced through this type of strictly American entertainment.

“This show is very dance-intensive, and it gives us a good workout dancing around and having some fun,” said Anna Klobnak.

“Sugar Babies” heavy use of dance has offered opportunities for cast members to standout and showcase their talents. Clarissa Gerrard is a featured dancer who has a big tap number and dance solo in the performance. Gerrard is one of three dance captains.

These numbers are filled with burlesque style and culture. “When learning lyrics we get to know the slang of the time; for example, ‘grip’ means ‘suitcase,’ and that’s something we get to mess around and have fun with. Also how they wore their hair and makeup… what you see and hear really completes the culture of it all,” said dance captain Reilly Jaeger.

This mix of humor, dance, and the hard work from the cast and crew is the formula Zellmer is using to make this popular Broadway show successful on IVCC’s stage. This recipe for success has another month of preparation before “Sugar Babies” can christen the Cultural Center with its first show since renovation.

From Thursday, April 23 through April 26 the play will be held in the IVCC Cultural Center. Thursday through Saturday the play begins at 7:30 p.m. Sunday the play begins at 2 p.m.

General Admission is $20. Students and seniors admission is $15, and IVCC students are able to get in for free.