REVIEW: “Dixie’s Happy Hour” — P3 Theatre

Updated: Mar 21

“Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull”


Her hilarious show has delighted audiences for over a decade. Now, while we are all "sealed for personal freshness" in our own homes, Dixie Longate, everyone's favorite Tupperware lady, brings her unique perspective to our current state of affairs.


“Let me tell you a story.” You’ll hear it more than a few times during Dixie Longate’s new virtual show, “Dixie’s Happy Hour,” brought to you by P3 Theatre and streaming Mar 20th at 8 pm., Mar 21st at 4 pm; Mar 26th-27th at 8:00 pm, and Mar 28th at 4 pm.


Dixie is a fiery redhead with a penchant for Jell-O shots and a heart of gold. A sassy Southern gal whose euphemisms would make a sailor blush, she has envy-inducing legs, not only toned but also recently simonized.


Between mixing drinks, a few dances and cheeky jokes, Longate, the drag persona of comedian/actor/writer Kris Andersson, shares chaotic stories from the trailer park and her childhood, while also regaling her audience with her experiences in, and tips for, finding the little Happy Hours in life, and an appreciation for what makes us human.


Dixie came into being when Mr. Andersson’s roommate hosted a Tupperware party at their Los Angeles home. A friend suggested that the actor start selling Tupperware himself; another friend dared him to do it in drag.


Mr. Andersson accepted the challenge, borrowed a wig and boots and began his transformation into the raunchy and energetic traveling Tupperware saleswoman Dixie. “It was a completely horrible, haphazard look,” he recalled, comparing the hairstyle to roadkill. “I refined her over time.”


The following year, with plastic bowls in hand, she embarked on a small tour to a handful of theaters in the US. Twelve years later, that tour was still running and had become one of the longest-running Off-Broadway tours in history, earning her a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance. Like most everything else, though, that run came to a screeching halt last March, and Andersson was left to ask: What now?


His answer: a digital “Dixie’s Happy Hour” featuring a 95-minute performance streamed to patrons of 21 arts centers and theaters across the country. Nine of those organizations are selling tickets, including P3 Theatre, which this weekend launched their second week of a three-week run.


I’ll admit, going into “Dixie’s Happy Hour,” you expect to see more of a booze-centric show. Don’t get me wrong — Longate puts her love of “the four main food groups: rum, gin, vodka and tequila” front and center. But “Dixie’s Happy Hour” is also a full one-woman stage play with Longate diving deep into rabbit holes about living with her Meemaw, buying Bedazzlers, and Donna Summer leaving her cake out in the rain.


A year into the pandemic, streaming shows are nothing new, but Andersson’s approach of a touring schedule rather than a one-off with a particular theater is rather novel. As is his profit-sharing model: Hosting theaters keep 80% of their ticket sales, and 20% goes to Andersson for the cost of the production and royalties owed to the crew who filmed the show, which was recorded with an eye toward making it appear live.


“I wanted this to be a way for me to give back to theaters,” says Andersson. “My hope is that if this show sells well, and does well, it will bring some needed revenue to these regional theaters while they remain shut down due to COVID.” P3 Theatre is proud to be one of that select group of performing arts centers across the country presenting the show, in the hopes that it may spur much-needed funding for general operations.


Tickets are sold directly through each theater’s box office. Theaters decide how long to run the show, how many performances to host and how many tickets to sell to each performance. Andersson set a universal base price of $35 per screen to prevent theaters from trying to undercut one another, but any given venue can set higher prices for special packages.

Andersson hopes the platform has legs and that other theater makers might use it to stage virtual shows through theaters around the country. This “Netflix for theater,” as Andersson calls it, could ultimately democratize which shows and performers get into major regional theaters and performing arts centers, he said, and make the shows more accessible to audiences who might otherwise not attend in person.


That’s all that Andersson really wants for the show, which he considers his way of paying it forward to the organizations that supported his rise. Like Dixie, who takes great pains to tell her audience that they are special just for being the first ones to make it to their mama’s eggs, Andersson has a soft spot for humanity, no matter how hurt or flawed.


“Never miss the great things right in front of you,” Dixie tells the audience during the show, quoting her mother. “They are always there. You sometimes just need to look a little closer to see them.”


Again, a $35 “ticket” gets you a link for the virtual performance. But with this show, you’ll need to show up at the scheduled time because it can’t be paused or replayed. And you can watch it with a group of your friends in your home and make it a real happy hour! But by yourself, or with your besties, Dixie will be there—mixing drinks and sharing funny stories.


Chris Daniels

Arts & Entertainment Reviewer

The Show Report

www.theshowreport.org