You Can Die of Sexy in Gorilla Tango's "Oregon Tail" Burlesque
“Get your wagons ready, someone's dead on the Oregon Trail and it ain't from dysentery!” That’s the promotional tagline for Gorilla Tango Theatre’s (1919 N. Milwaukee Ave.) latest burlesque production, which opens on Friday, January 10, at 9 p.m. The show combines the premise of the beloved 1970s computer game—meant to teach children about the perils of 19th-century pioneer life—with a murder mystery wrapped in lingerie. The result is still educational, as the adults in attendance can expect to learn much about the perils of being sexy.
Director Sabrina Harper expects the show to fall somewhere between steamy and nostalgic. “If you think back fondly on playing the video game as a kid, or just like to see some silly pioneer-inspired boobies, you'll love this show,” she exclaims. The soundtrack—“a blend of classic music with a twist of ‘80s fitness rock”—should also prove interesting. We couldn’t help but think back on those countless hours spent playing the game and consider other ways in which the show might be different.
The Characters’ Names
When you played The Oregon Trail at school, you likely took turns being wagon leader and named the members of your party after fellow classmates. According to the official Social Security list of popular baby names, if you were playing the game during its late-1980s heyday, your covered wagon was probably filled with Jessicas, Michaels, Ashleys, Christophers, and Emilys.
In Gorilla Tango’s Oregon Tail, however, the characters’ names are a little less ho-hum. They include such double-entendre masterpieces as Whip Her Willow, Ma Boobs, Pa P. Cok, and Peachy Keen.
Nothing defined The Oregon Trail quite like the litany of grisly fates that could befall its characters. Some of the more common causes of death included measles, snakebites, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and exhaustion. There were also the occasional drownings and fatally broken legs. Thankfully, in The Oregon Tail Burlesque, you can only die of sexy.
Hunting was a crucial part of survival in The Oregon Trail video game. During their trek to Willamette Valley, players had to secure guns, which they could then fire at wild animals by quickly typing (and not misspelling) words such as “WHAM,” “POW,” and “BANG.” We don’t know how exactly they hunt in the burlesque show, but let’s just say it looks like they use a different technique.
The Oregon Tail Burlesque runs through April 11, with shows on Friday at 9 p.m. Purchase your tickets here.
Courtney Ryan is a Chicago-based writer and Derrick Rose fan. She spends almost 100% of her time making or eating popcorn.