Things are heating up in the kitchen. Writer and Director Seamus Ricci brings their iconic drag diva, Deep Violet, to Pittsburgh in “La Cucina (the Kitchen)” April 29.
Ricci, who has returned to Pittsburgh after attending the University of Essex’s East 15 Acting School’s Theatre Directing program, said, “Deep Violet divulges her deepest, darkest depths of her previous promiscuous life that she is leaving behind so she can stir up a brand new recipe for her next chapter. She may even let slip some of her secret ingredients as she serenades you throughout the evening in preparation for a special guest.”
“La Cucina (the Kitchen)” is a benefit for the Big Siblings program, a community-based mentoring program through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh that matches adult mentors with LGBTQ youth. Ricci said, “The Big Siblings program is designed to bring crucial guidance and one-on-one support to these sometimes overlooked or under-resourced children and teenagers.”
Deep Violet has performed for other LGBTQ Youth charities, including Mermaids, which has been helping gender-diverse kids, young people, and their families since 1995. Ricci added, “It’s important that young people are developing their own voices.”
In “La Cucina,” Deep Violet will sing skewered versions of some Peggy Lee songs, and Broadway show tunes. For example, “Whatever Lola Wants” from “Damn Yankees,” morphs into “Whatever Violet Wants.”
Ricci said, “The show is an homage to Jilline Ringle.” Ringle who created her own concept cabaret shows.”
It’s easy to spot Ringle in the Deep Violet’s roots. Her original cabaret show, “Mondo Mangia,” was a warm, funny, and nostalgic memoir of growing up in an Italian Catholic family, filled with songs and stories about her mother and grandmother. Ringle cooked a pasta dish onstage while she performed and shared the dish with the audience. Ringle was set to return to the City Theatre in the 2005-2006 season when she contracted pneumonia and died at the age of forty.
Ricci plans to capture the vivacious and audacious manner of cabaret. She might also be cooking up some nibbles for the audience.
The evening is filled with games and prizes. At “La Cucina (the Kitchen),” baskets filled with gift cards from Eons, Games Unlimited, Steel Bridge Labs, Helicon Brewing, 5801, and more will be raffled off.
A painting of Deep Violet by their brother, Jake Ricci, a member of the Barn Door Artisans will also be auctioned off.
Ricci said that an American Sign Language interpreter, Jessica Murphy, will also be there to sign at the show.
There are a few places to catch Deep Violet before “La Cucina (the Kitchen)” debuts. Ricci added, “March 26th she will be doing a Drag Brunch at Blue Sky [211 N. Whitfiled Street in East Liberty] and Bach Choir’s “Queens: the Music of Queen,” April 14th and 15th at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center [3579 Masonic Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15237].”