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As the Stomach Turns: The Musical

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As the Stomach Turns: The Musical

By Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret and Burlesque

Directed by Amy Buchanan

Murder, deceit, long-lost relations, experimental surgeries, exorcisms, nosy neighbors and a fabulous on-stage band are just some of what awaits in this hilarious homage to Carol Burnett' s classic 70's skit.


Physical theater/Clowning Improv Storytelling/Spoken word Sci-fi/Mystery/Horror

Audience participation First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer

Just so you know, this show has

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 18 and up

Other shows

"As the Stomach Turns: The Musical" stars LCR's entire cast and band, and was adapted for the stage by cast members Amy Buchanan, who serves as the show's MC and director and was also featured as one of City Pages "100 Creatives" in 2011, and Ashleigh Swenson, who stars in LCR as "Buttercup Flowers" and has made recent appearances on "America's Got Talent" and MinnPost's annual fundraiser show "MinnRoast 2012."

LCR's Fringe Festival production is a parody of a parody; they've lovingly reworked Carol Burnett's classic 70's soap opera send-up "As the Stomach Turns" in their unique style, with the addition of original dialogue, musical numbers and a live band. The comedic mishaps of a live soap opera are rich material for a group who has improv'd their way through nearly 600 performances. Missed cues, late sound effects, curious subplots, and hilariously improbable dramatic turns are all packed in this 60-minute extravaganza.  

Cast + crew

Amy Buchanan
Role: Director/co-writer/Marion
Amy Buchanan was born in Duluth and wrote her first play at the age of nine. No one noticed or said anything like “good job” or “you should write another one." So she forgot about playwriting for the time being, hit puberty, saw Purple Rain and moved to The Twin Cities to become a rock and roll singer. This led to her working with many notable people, including Flyte Time recording artist Alexander O’Neal, with whom she performed with as a back-up singer at the age of 17, and Bruce Allen of the Suburbs and Chris Osgood of The Suicide Commandos, with whom she sang with as lead singer of The Pilgrims.

Many more projects followed, all of which led her to founding Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret and Burlesque Show in the spring of 2003. Since then she has directed and produced over 600 shows and has been credited with giving birth to the burlesque scene in The Twin Cities. After nine years, LCR has taken a turn towards producing more comedy/cabaret shows. This started with her collaboration with Myron Johnson and Ballet of the Dolls on their version of The Nutcracker for the 2011 holiday season at The Ritz Theater and now this production of “As The Stomach Turns — The Musical” for this years Fringe Festival. She wants you to wish her luck and to offer to buy her a drink afterwards.

Ashleigh Swenson/Buttercup Flowers
Role: Co-writer/Kitty/portrait painter
Since childhood, Ashleigh Swenson has been obsessed with vaudeville, live jazz, musicals, bad jokes, overacting, sketch comedy, subversive humor, and Lawrence Welk. She hails from tiny Hoffman, Minnesota, but has called Minneapolis ‘home’ for the last dozen or so years where she has worn many hats, including: beauty school dropout, waitress, and non-traditional (old) college student. A lifelong “Theatre Kid,” she has performed in, designed, directed, choreographed, or stage managed over 50 different shows, most recently the premiere of the musical Chickens on the Freeway: Film at 11! The Musical at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage. She and her husband Sam Stinogel live in Nordeast and might get a dog soon.

Ashleigh’s favorite alter ego, Buttercup Flowers, first broke onto the scene with Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret & Burlesque Show in 2008 as part of the sister act, “The Tap Dancing Sarah Palins” (also starring Garron the Houseboy as “The Bear”)—which they artfully parlayed into an appearance on “America’s Got Talent” (and a free trip to NYC!), which the judges absolutely hated (didn’t understand)—and has cris-crossed Minnesota with Le Cirque Rouge, from Duluth to Rochester to Hankinson, North Dakota. A tireless performer and high-kicker, Buttercup always aims to make ‘em laugh with her own personal brand of highbrow/lowbrow satire and cocksure attitude.

Garron Haubner
Role: Branson/Jackman/ Basingborn Chapkiss
Garron "The Houseboy" Haubner has been with Le Cirque Rouge for 9 glorious years. In that time he has been stabbed, shot, hunted, smothered, scalped and fallen victim to many other gruesome deaths. The highlight was performing as a pooping bear on National Television. Before Le Cirque, Garron sat in a large cardboard box with a plastic face, on the second shelf from the top in Lord Nusbaum Sticker's Emporium of Magic Stuff on Checkerbord St. Needless to say, he has very much enjoyed becoming a real boy...

Victoria Vaughn
Role: Raven

Tomahawk Tassels
Role: Stormy Feathers

Known as “The Cherokee Seductress,” Tomahawk's Native American-inspired performances blend classic vintage style with cheeky American history. With 7 years of professional burlesque and modeling experience, Tomahawk has had the rare priveledge of performing with every burlesque show in the Twin Cities, gaining both local and International recognition. Tomahawk began her burlesque career in St. Louis, performing weekly in the premier downtown burlesque show "The Alley Cat Revue." She has been featured in The London Burlesque Festival 2009, New Orleans Burlesque Festival 2009 and 2010, The Texas Burlesque Festival 2010, The Windy City Burlesque Festival 2010, and 2011, The St. Louis Show-Me Burlesque Festival 2011,and the Best Of Midwest Burlesque Festival 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Tomahawk has also graced the covers and pages of several motorcycle magazines: Kustom Bikes, Iron Horse, and Street Chopper. She is also an established figure model, working nationally as a muse for artists. In 2010 Tomahawk began producing a monthly bar-top burlesque and rock n roll show, combining live music with a naughtier striptease experience. She now produces regular shows around the Twin Cities and New Orleans, presenting the art of the striptease in a creative and unique way. She is also an accomplished instructor and choreographer, having taught burlesque classes for over 3 years. Tomahawk wass a regular cast member of the Minneapolis Television Network's "Freaky Deeky," a live psychedelic interactive tv show. She has also been featured in short films such as "The Boy with the Green Eyes," and "Flicker." She was recently seen on NBC's "America's Got Talent," Season 6, in which she flirts with celebrity judge Howie Mandel and surprises the live audience with her flirtatious confidence.She is proud to be one of the longest standing members of Le Cirque Rouge, having performed with them for 6 years! Pow WOW!!!

Lulu Blue
Role: Zoey Extraordinaire
Lulu Blue is a beat poet and known as The Burlesque Poet of Minneapolis. She received her BA in English from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and specializes in incorporating her passion for Marxist and Feminist theory into her poetry. Since 2010, she has performed with Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret and Burlesque Show, directed by Amy Buchanan where she recites verse accompanied by the Le Cirque Rouge House Band, an accomplished jazz quartet. Lulu Blue has also worked with Myron Johnson, director of Ballet of the Dolls and performed during his celebrated holiday show “The Nutcracker,” and has performed with the jazz trio Up Simba! at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in St. Paul, MN.

Queenie Von Curves
Role: Mrs. Babcock
Queenie von Curves, "The cheeky gal with curves in all the right places," loves peeling off her clothes locally in Minneapolis as a cast member of Le Cirque Rouge. She has also performed in Richmond, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus, BoMB, Windy City Burlesque Fest and Show Me Burlesque Festival. Locally she has also performed with Ballet of the Dolls and in Fashion Ball. Queenie is known for her pointe routines and her "Fire von Brusten" act, the only performer in the midwest to do so. She loves dyeing her hair outrageous colors, eating vegan chocolate chip cookies and getting into mischief with her husband.

Mugsy McBee
Role: Angelique DuMaurier
Mugsy McBee is one of Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret & Burlesque's newest members. Invited to the troupe by Director, Amy Buchanan, she has performed as a singer, dancer and actress since 2011. She is also a member of Chorus Polaris, a 40-voice ensemble founded in 2006 and directed by John Hoffacker. She is currently studying Clarinet and Alto Saxophone under Jason Siem with the Minneapolis School of Music, and is also a novice didgeridoo player.

Chrystal Canary
Role: Cheyenne

Miss Fanny May
Role: Dr. Kendall Van Arden
Miss Fanny May is a lil' midwestern taste of southern comfort. Hailing from the deep south, she moved her sassy sweet self up north to heat things up! Headlining in the Texas Burlesque Festival and then shakin' it on over to The Best of Midwest Burlesk Fest, she has maintained a solid home with Le Cirque Rouge since 2007. A Mooseburger Clown Arts Education cadet, she loves to rattle her hocks and shake her caboose, while winking at postmodernist theory and Kathleen Rowe. Crafty and kookie, this cowpoke usually has more than just an arm up her sleeve.

Eric Edwalds
Role: Piano

EE's first jazz piano teacher played the silent movie houses and EE has supplied LCR with that old school jazz piano style for 3 years. EE also plays piano for Beasley's Big Band and several small groups around town.

John Etzell
Role: Bass
John Etzell- Upright Bass Player
Has played bass for 30 years in several bands including Le Cirque Rouge, Beasley's Big Band, several Jazz Combos and various rock bands. Influences include John Entwistle, Paul Chambers and Charles Mingus.

Robert Russel
Role: Sax

Sam Stinogel
Role: Announcer

Adam Voreis
Role: Sound Effects/Tech

Ryan Medeiros
Role: Stage manager

Guy Low
Role: Technical assistance/name consultant

Write a review

You will be able to write a review for this show during the festival.

User reviews

Don't ask why, just go...
by Bernard McGarrigle
Rating 4 stars
This show was a hoot! Just an hour of fun, surprises, and good music from the band. The show doesn't take itself too seriously and neither should the audience. Just go and have a good laugh.

Lots of chuckles
by Jeremy Stanger
Rating 4 stars
Entertaining and fun. Cutest dog I have ever seen! Band and singing was amazing but something was lacking that could be due to constraints of Fringe.

Tried too hard, failed too often
by Fringivitis Vulgaris
Rating 1 star
Loosely a homage to Carol Burnett, but without most of the cleverness. Burlesque is fine but reallllly didn't need to be crammed into a soap opera. This show lost stars because of noxious ethnic stereotypes. Good singing couldn't salvage this show. Save your hour for something entertaining.

This show is just awesome...
by Guy Perkins
Rating 5 stars
Did you ever get bumped from the television as a child so your mom could catch up on recorded episodes of Days of our Lives? I did. And thanks to this awesome performance, the loss of all that valuable time has finally been redeemed. Chuckling my way through the rhetorical pokes and prods of this piece of satirical righteousness, I knew from the start that vengeance was finally mine. I read the flyer. It’s all there; murder, exorcism, experimental surgery. What it does not mention, however, is the natural talent, versatility, and masterful wit that drives the hilariously sarcastic perspective with which the group approaches their objective of spoofing a spoof. And they pull it off fantastically.

5 Smiles
by Liz Blank
Rating 5 stars
Funny!!! Very entertaining!!!

Delightfully dreadful!
by Carmen Sanchez
Rating 5 stars
I really appreciated this satire of bad melodrama. I grew up with telenovelas and change the English to Spanish, and this is a spot on skewer. I also thought the commercials were astute observations of using stereotypes to push products. Dumb, big-boobed bimbos, native americans... I wont ruin the jokes for you, but the butter commercial was priceless. Really funny stuff. The singing was also amazing! No painful, pitchy singing to get through to hear the jokes. Quality pipes all around. One thing, the burlesque as pretty sparingly used, so don't go if you are just looking to see pretty ladies, scantily clad.

by Eliz D
Rating 1 star
This show failed on so many levels. It tried WAY too hard and instead of hitting that ever-elusive funny skit comedy that is bad on purpose level it fell flat on its face.
The strip tease by the neighbor was the only redeeming factor of this entire show.
Don't bother seeing this one - - if you're interested in seeing what the company does well, go see one of their full burlesque shows.

Terrific Talent
by Matlisa Semrad
Rating 5 stars
The band is worth the price of admission, plus you get incredible singing and comedy.

Very meta
by Cato Brutus
Rating 1 star
Burlesque shoehorned into incomprehensible skits, much like breasts into undersized corsets.

Has Its Moments
by Gary Whitford
Rating 3 stars
It starts out strong, but seems to lack punch as time goes on.

Surprisingly good singing
by Steven Suppan
Rating 4 stars
I went to this show because of the ambition described in the ad: how would music, comedy and burlesque mix in a homage to a Carol Burnett soap opera spoof? The band and the singing are first rate, whether faux-opera or sung while stripping. Set and staging are simple but supportive. Costumes fall away when they need to and otherwise telegraph the show's comic types. The comedy ranges from Burnettesque in its timing to a little stilted in the writing or concept (e.g. the Land O Lakes burlesque). This is a comic musical review so if you must have a tight plot, you'll be disappointed. Otherwise go for the music and a few chuckles.

Aptly named
by Publius McGee
Rating 1 star
Ok, it wasn't as bad as all *that*, but it definitely was not good. The timing was completely off, the tech was terrible, the plot awkwardly strung together, the script painful. And maybe it was just white guilt, but I was pretty uncomfortable with the kind of racist costuming. Either way, it was too much crap all in one place, and I left early with a bad taste in my mouth.

One star for the excellent band.

"I'll get it!"
by Eric Salo
Rating 3 stars
Parts of this show were quite well done. The 4-piece band was totally on, and more than a few of the singers really belted it out. And yes, the commercials were funny. Taken as a whole there's nothing here that really stands out as must-see. But if you're spending an entire day at Rarig and need a filler show for some timeslot, you could do a lot worse than this one.

Made my stomach turn
by Bradley Johnson
Rating 2 stars
Started off in Carol Burnett tradition and then turned into the boob show. The writing was so poor that I can't recommend it unless you'd like to see some boobs.

Comedic Musical - must see
by P E Keller
Rating 5 stars
A send-up of the classic Burnett comedic skit, now with music and striptease. Le Cirque reworks the parody of a parody with a live band and singers belting out old, new and reworked songs. Great voices, live music and laughs galore, what's not to like. A wonderful and entertaining effort by this freshman Fringe group.

A must see
by Perry Smaglik
Rating 5 stars
You pushed the Carol Burnett show to an R rating with increadable voices.

Voices and body confidence
by Beth Wegener
Rating 3 stars
While the premise thread was not especially well woven or supported, this burlesque-y performance was supported with some decent voices and interesting costuming.

Must see!
by Miss Krista
Rating 5 stars
This is a hilarious, sexy tribute to Carol Burnett’s classic 1970’s skit! The cast does a great job of making you laugh time and again. The songs they sing… wow! The word “talented” doesn’t do them justice! For me, the live-band makes it. There is a sexy saxophone and killer piano player... in between is a bassist and drummer who keep the whole thing classy! Best of all, the commercials will leave you laughing well after the performance; original and born from true comedy! Enjoy!

A Campy Confection
by Arlyn Swenson
Rating 4 stars
Cirque Rouge puts their first-rate band, top-notch singers, quirky comedy striptease, and outrageous beat poetry to work supporting a wacky episode of the world's worst soap opera. A wild but kooky carnival ride with a Rocky Horror flavor.

Terribly Hillarious
by Joe Melone
Rating 3 stars
I'm not exactly sure what I saw but some great laughs, some really good voices, and over-all I was entertained!

Hysterical and off-beat
by Jenny Wolf
Rating 5 stars
Combines too classic spoofing greats - burlesque and Carol Burnett. Light-hearted, crazy, and incredibly humorous.

Loved it!!!
by Deidre Reynolds
Rating 5 stars
I have never seen Carol Burnett, but I loved this show! The singing was fantastic, the band was great especially with the silly accompaniments to the dialogue, LOVED the burlesque parts and it was really funny. I might even go see it again - great job Le Cirque Rouge! A nice addition to Fringe!

Zany - doesn't quite gel
by David Trudeau
Rating 3 stars
Taking two premises and putting them together in an unexpected mix can make a really hilarious show. Here some high energy classic avoirdupois burlesque queen routines and Carol Burnette's TV spoof on bad TV soaps didn't quite come together for me. Part of the problem is that the original "Stomach Turns" relied more on close up facials and the superb comedians who did it to be funny. The inane plot and timing errors used here are insufficient to propel it. And somehow the burley-Q just doesn't fold in. The band, however is just classic.

Missed potential
by Marcia Avner
Rating 1 star
There is real talent in this cast. Strong voices!! And it is a delight to have live music on stage. But the show itself doesn't live up to the cast's potential. The narrative doesn't hold together and didn't engage me. The timing is way off, not just phone and door cues, but the tempo of lines and moments. It felt like a long 45 minutes.
The commercials were the best part.

Good, little campy
by Chris Anderson
Rating 4 stars
Good show, and great voices, kinda cheesy (but I think that's what they want)

Sexy and ridiculous!
by Dave Stagner
Rating 5 stars
Classic soap opera parody with a live band, MANY fantastic singers, an exorcism... Oh yes, and striptease. ;) Seriously, this is as purely entertaining as anything you'll see at Fringe!


Thursday, 8/28:30 p.m.This performance is audio described
Sunday, 8/52:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/85:30 p.m.
Thursday, 8/97:00 p.m.
Saturday, 8/114:00 p.m.


U of M Rarig Center Proscenium venue information
330 21st Ave. S, Main Floor