That old-time feeling

By Darby Vermeulen
Courtesy photo

What to expect from The Lil’ Darlins Vaudeville Troupe

Thursday, March 7 — Sword swallowers, fire eaters, acrobats and music. Just a typical night for The Lil’ Darlins Vaudeville Troupe, which performs Sunday night at The Loft in Lansing.

Formed in 2008 by husband and wife Katie and Ben Corr, formerly of DeWitt, the troupe of 15-plus members has managed to combine all the ingredients of a traditional Vaudevillian show for their 21st century audience. City Pulse caught up with Katie Corr to discuss what to expect at their retro variety show.

Where did the idea for the troupe start?

My husband Ben and I have been friends since high school. We were both in theatre and we have always wanted to do a vaudeville show. We’ve always been interested in the time period and the music. So we just decided one day that we were going to do it. We talked to some of our friends who are also performers, and they got into it. We started planning and preparing it and picking out skits, made the set, picked a date and we just did it.

How would you describe your stage show to someone who has never seen it?

It’s a variety show. We have a series of different acts; sword swallowers, fire eaters, acrobats, magicians, etcetera. In between the acts are musical numbers or skits, so every act is something different. It’s high-energy, fast-paced and comedic. You get the element of the old-timey, vaudeville feel.

Tell me about the inspiration behind some of your acts.

When it comes to the skits, we take old, classic vaudeville jokes and punch lines and make them our own. As far as the acts go, we try to pull stuff from original vaudeville shows. We have a belly dancer because part of vaudeville is bringing in that exotic element. We always try to do justice to old school vaudeville.

Vaudeville is definitely a niche form of entertainment. Why do you think someone who has never experienced a vaudeville show should give it a shot?

It’s just a really good time. It’s entertaining from the very beginning to then end. It’s kind of for the A.D.D. audience member, constantly changing. One act to the next, there’s never a dull moment.

What would you say is the troupe’s crowning moment?

When we did that show in Franklin, we were part of a 90th anniversary celebration for a silent film theater. We essentially recreated opening night of the theater 90 years ago. After we did the vaudeville show, they showed a silent film with a live orchestra. People came dressed in costumes and it just felt like we were part of that time in history. Everyone had an amazing time.

Sunday at The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, 8 PM. Tickets are $10 at the door. All ages.