Scandalesque Announces Plans to Open The Empress in Downtown Phoenix
Scandalesque's Christy Zandlo and Julianna Curtis probably won't have much in the way of free time over the next several weeks. During that time, the co-founders of the local burlesque troupe have routines to rehearse, dance workshops to oversee, and a few upcoming performances to plan (including The M Show, their two-girl tribute to Marilyn Monroe at FilmBar on Friday). And then there's the biggest task on their plate: Opening Scandalesque's new performance venue within the next month or two.
Benjamin Leatherman Downtown Phoenix's Palazzo, which the organizers of Scandalesque reportedly plan to transform in the Empress.
On the evening of Friday, August 30, Zandlo announced on Facebook that the troupe is planning to open The Empress, a "drop dead gorgeous burlesque and live music theater" in downtown Phoenix sometime in October. Here's the kicker: Its location is the current home of infamous gothic-themed nightspot Palazzo, which will transform into its new identity in the coming weeks.
Zandlo, who also performs as Pyrrha Sutra, told Jackalope Ranch that Scandalesque recently signed a deal with property owner and nightlife impresario Steven Rogers to begin leasing his Central Avenue spot.
She says it will continue to operate as Palazzo and host DJ/dance events -- including the latest edition of monthly goth/industrial party ResurrectioN on Friday night -- but only through the end of the month. Come October 1, it will be known as The Empress and will go from being a dance club to more of a supper club-like theater.
(Palazzo isn't only one of Rogers downtown nightspots that's getting new proprietors and a new concept, as neighboring gay club Amsterdam closed last month and will be transformed into a new establishment by the owners of Bliss/ReBar.)
In the weeks leading up to the transition, Zandlo says they'll be refurbishing things a little bit with some "small cosmetic changes." After its changeover takes place, however, the property will close to undergo a "full-on transformation" into a theater, which she says will serve as a much-needed home for Scandalesque.
The troupe has been based out of various Valley dance studios and other venues since it was formed in 2004 by Zandlo and Curtis, who performs as Lady Fontaine.
"We've been needing a new home for a long time," Zandlo says. "It's been like eight years, and we've been going from place to place."
While the exact date of The Empress' grand opening is still up in the air, Zandlo says they're hoping to have things up and running at the theater sometime in October.
It will host most of Scandalesque's showcases (a few will still take place at other Valley venues) as well as other "alternative entertainment" like sideshow and circus-style acts, drag artist revues, high-profile touring burlesque performers, and the occasional live band.
"We just want to be known as a place that just has this cool and different alternative entertainment," Zandlo says.