From Oct. 19-20, the interactive comedy show "Dixie's Tupperware Party" will run at Michigan State University's Wharton Center.
The show's roots go back to 1950, when American saleswoman Brownie Wise hosted the first Tupperware Party, a social gathering where the hostess markets Tupperware, in her living room and provided a space for women to gather post-WWII.
Nearly seven decades later, drag performer John Kristien Andersson, more commonly known as Dixie Longate, seeks to lift people up in the same ways - by using tupperware.
Longate initially started selling tupperware as part of her parole agreement in 2001. After her career took off and she became the top-selling Tupperware lady of the United States, however, a friend suggested that she turn her tupperware parties into a theatrical performance.
So that’s what she did.
"Dixie's Tupperware Party" started as an off-broadway show in New York. Over the course of 16 years, it has been all over the world and secured fame for Longate.
“I never thought I'd be doing anything like I'm doing right now, and it's just so interesting that it all grew out of me doing a couple of tupperware parties,” Longate said. “I just did it because I needed some extra money.”
For Longate, the show is about getting people to be the best version of themselves, something that wasn’t there at the beginning.
In fact, Longate said she didn't expect the show to go far, thinking others would simply get a quick laugh out of it. It wasn’t until later, Longate said, that she realized that audiences were taking her messages to heart.
Longate’s show is also interactive, which means she creates fresh content every performance. She said she views that aspect of the show as “a piece of love,” or a chance to empower at least one audience member.
Longate said lifting people up as been important especially in recent years, with the pandemic not allowing people much room to "let their hair down" and laugh.
“I think people keep coming because they just want to be entertained, and they want to have a good time and they want to feel good about themselves,” Longate said.
Sixteen years of doing the show has also spawned ideas for a few other shows, Longate said.
Her two other shows are titled “Cherry Bombs and Bottle Rockets and Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull and 16 Other Things I learned While I was Drinking Last Thursday.” Similar to “Dixie’s Tupperware Party,” both shows seek to lift up and empower people, just through different storytelling.
But Longate’s storytelling fame hasn’t gotten in the way of her passion for tupperware itself, which she still sells on her website and through catalogs given to audience members at every show.
“It's the best crap on the planet, I love it,” Longate said said. “It's become such a universal piece of people's lives without them even recognizing it.”
Tickets cost $19 for students and start at $30 for the general public and can be purchased by visiting whartoncenter.com.
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