By Jovon Eberhart
Tupperware parties owe their place in American culture to Central Florida, and a savvy business woman named Brownie Wise. She recognized Tupperware’s potential and began selling the products at home parties. The strategy’s success caught the attention of Earl Tupper. (Indeed, there was in fact a Mr. Tupper.) He named Wise vice president of Tupperware Home Parties in 1951, and the plastic storage products with the “burping seals” secured their place in history.
Even with her visionary strategies, I’m not certain Brownie could have foreseen “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” coming. It’s a clever, fast-paced show that combines improv, satire and audience participation. Impressively, it’s also an actual Tupperware party, complete with name tags, catalogs, order forms, games and prizes!
From the moment Dixie Longate (Mr. Kris Andersson) takes the stage with voluminous red curls and five-inch gingham heels, she’s in command of the 300 seat theater. A gracious southern belle from the wrong side of the tracks, she’s been selling “the fantastic plastic crap” since 2001 as a condition of her parole. Dixie is a fast-talking, hard-drinking host with effortless timing and rapid-fire charm. She sips whiskey and wine from plastic tumblers as she demonstrates current products, the proper “burping” method for sealing containers, and shares her personal journey with the brand. There’s not a dull moment in Dixie’s 100 minute sales pitch because she’s genuinely showcasing the merchandise with humor. Who knew a cake caddy can transport 18 cupcakes, a sheet cake or 34 Jello shots?
The production design is minimal, with perfectly timed lighting, sound and video cues. The Tupperware products on stage can all be ordered, as well as additional merchandise in the lobby.
For those wondering the maturity level of the show’s content: say Dixie’s full name out loud. Catch it? It’s raunchy, adult content, but without malicious or nasty intent and minimal offensive language. That said, it’s a show best enjoyed by adults. Everyone is wearing name tags, though Dixie primarily interacts with audience members in the first three rows.
Dixie Longate will be performing at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater until Sunday, March 27, 2016. For those seeking a guaranteed up-close and personal experience with the show, limited onstage seats are available for purchase. Since it’s an actual Tupperware party, feel free to bring any chipped, cracked, peeling or damaged pieces in your personal collection – Dixie will be happy to order replacements covered under the Lifetime Warranty.
I left a voicemail with Tupperware Headquarters regarding the Tupperware Gallery in Orlando. Here’s their reply:
In addition to our Tupperware Brands Global Headquarters Gallery, we have our Tupperware Brands Confidence Center that is also free and open to the public. Visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our Confidence Center takes visitors on a self-guided tour through our heritage, including the showcase of our first molding machine, products and pays homage to our brand pioneers (including Brownie Wise). Then we share incredible visuals of who we are today as a company, including our expanded beauty product lines and our global reach of nearly 85 markets, with a sales force of 3.1 million women. Visitors can see our company mission come to life – which is to empower women – by viewing various videos of inspiration from some of our independent business owners. It is truly remarkable and something that we are very proud to share with those who visit our headquarters.
If you’d like to visit, they are located at 14901 South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.
Cast: Kris Andersson
Director: Patrick Richwood
Playwright: Kris Andersson
Lighting designer: Richard Winkler
Sound designer: Christopher K. Bond
Hair Design: Rebecca A. Scott
Presented by KL Management