Born in New York, drummer Ronnie Magri is at the forefront of burlesque revival today, after functioning as the premier bandleader, musical director, and drummer of this country's only authentic 1950s style burlesque show.
Magri left New York for New Orleans in 1995 and by 1999 helped form along with Lorelei Fuller and Morgan Night the Shim Shamettes, New Orleans's first burlesque revival troupe, performing at the Shim Sham Club in the French Quarter. He assembled the hottest Jazz musicians to form Ronnie Magri and his New Orleans Jazz Band. Besides performing in the burlesque show, Magri performed with smaller version of his band, known as The Port of New Orleans Jazz Band, and won Offbeat magazine's "Best Emerging Traditional Jazz Band" award in 2000. Magri and the Shim Shamettes were featured prominently in the two-hour A&E documentary, It's Burlesque!, which premiered in March 2001. That same year, his band backed some of the top names in new burlesque at the first annual Tease-O-Rama convention and showcase, which was held in New Orleans.
When the Shim Shamettes disbanded in 2002, Magri was instrumental in putting together The Shim Sham Revue only a few months later. The Shim Sham Revue featured a comic emcee, comedienne, singer and the Southern Jezebelles, a six-girl burlesque troupe. The Shim Sham Revue was the first old-style burlesque revival show to perform on a weekly basis in its own venue, the Shim Sham Club, with a live house band.
Also in 2002, Magri released his CD Shim Sham Revue, which featured music of burlesque shows of the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties. He was nominated for two Offbeat awards for "Best Album by a Louisiana Artist" and "Best Emerging Band." In 2003, he was also nominated for a Big Easy award for "Best Traditional Jazz Band.". In 2005, Bravo television licensed several tracks from Shim Sham Revue for Zalman King's reality series, Forty Deuce.
After the closing of the Shim Sham Club, and the opening of One Eyed Jacks in the same Toulouse Street location, Magri was back in 2005 reforming his band as Ronnie Magri & the Bourbon Shakers for a new burlesque show titled Bustout Burlesque.
On stage, Magri and his band have backed the biggest star of burlesque revival today, Dita Von Teese (Playboy Covergirl December 2002) on several occasions as well as performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and French Quarter Festival. Ronnie has also recorded and worked with rock and rollers Little Richard, Joey Ramone and Stiv Bators, The Throbs among others.
As reported in Time, Newsweek, Wall St. Journal, Rolling Stone, Maxim, Playboy, and other media sources, burlesque fever is taking over the country. Ronnie Magri will surely continue to be recognized as the most talented and entertaining bandleader behind every bump and grind that will keep the spirit of burlesque and jazz alive for years to come!