Beginning in humble circumstances playing to the rear end of a fried chicken shack, traveling the far reaches of the world from the U.S. to the Continent to the corners of the Far East and landing right back where they started in the storied and seedy streets of the French Quarter, the New Orleans Bingo! Show remains a curious spectacle, a thrilling phenomenon and one of the very finest entertainments on the theatrical stage today.
Dressed in black, white and red like the leering faces on a good poker hand, the Bingo! Show is a multimedia stage experience that includes original black-and-white silent films, aerialists, dancers, ingénues, clowns, audience interaction, bingo games, slapstick comedy and shady characters who remind you that every stage door opens into a dark alley.
Ringleader – or ringmaster – Clint Maedgen, a Louisiana native and sixteen-year New Orleans resident, writes love songs to the bohemian beauty of downtown New Orleans with heartbreaking purity and unimpeachable chops; his songs swell with tenderness and crackle with sinister menace in equal parts. Rounded out with occasional upright bass, organ, musical saw, theremin, siren, pantomime, flashlight, found percussion and suspicious behavior, the band is a Brechtian cabaret funneled through New Orleans' Ninth Ward via the noir surrealism of Twin Peaks.
In recent years, The New Orleans Bingo! Show has forged a deep involvement with the New Orleans traditional jazz institution the Preservation Hall Jazz Band– touring with them, joining the show and working with the band to update, twist and preserve the unique quality that is New Orleans
But as in the finest dime museums, sideshows and collections of oddities since the dawn of vaudeville, seeing is believing. So step up to the ticket booth, surrender a nominal sum and allow yourself to be astonished, amazed and amused by America's best-loved musical gameshow cabaret –
The New Orleans Bingo! Show.