The only upside to wasting two hours of your life not to mention the money paid to view the god-awful movie "Showgirls," is that it makes the reenactment + parody, "Sock Puppet Showgirls," that much better.
--audience review, metromix.com
Sock Puppet Showgirls opened February 23, 2002 at the Side Studio in Chicago. The inaugural production of Harvey Finklestein's Institute of Whimsical, Fantastical, and Marvelous Puppet Masterage, the show re-enacted a thirty minute version of Paul Verhoeven's 1995 film, Showgirls, with sock puppets.
it was crass, it was vulgar, it was witty, it was inspired. special guest stars cookie monster, elmo and big bird whipped the crowd into a frenzy during the pivotal cheetah's pole dance sequence. big bird with a twenty dangling from his beak was an image that will haunt me for the rest of my life. be warned this show is interactive and not for the faint of heart. remember gallagher? bring a plastic bag to protect yourself.
--audience review, diaryland

Off-the-shelf, copyrighted-character puppets notwithstanding, the show's main characters (Nomi, Zack, Cristal) were sock puppets, which spouted lines verbatim from Joe Esterhaz's screenplay from the film. The actors would also ad-lib new lines for their puppet characters. Sock puppet nudity and profanity abounded, although audience reaction was mixed on how anatomically correct the socks were. The original venue was BYOB, so crowds had a good time without worrying about the accuracy of the sock puppets sexual conjoinings.

Already popular, after an appearance on the WGN Morning News, the show had to move to a larger theatre to accomodate the crowds. It moved to the Noble Fool Theater Cabaret in the Chicago Loop. Theatre critics enjoyed it, and two of them (Rick Reed of Windy City Times and Nina Metz of New City) included the show on their best of the 2002 theatre season lists. The show ran for nine months.

Show creator John Shaterian put this lowbrow puppet concept together initially to avoid working with actors. One night, in an alcohol-fueled brainstorming session, sock puppet versions of films such as The Godfather and Raiders of the Lost Ark were put forth, but as the evening wore on, Shaterian was convinced that Showgirls was the perfect vehicle for tube sock theatre.

Audiences who have seen the movie prior to seeing the puppet show seem to enjoy the production more-- and the consumption of alcohol before attending a performance is encouraged.

The show was re-mounted in July 2004 in Chicago in an expanded 45-minute version with new scenes, before a run at the New York International Fringe Festival in August.

Sources:
Harvey Finklestein Institute. <http://www.harveyfinklestein.com/history%20of.html> (14 September 2004)
Gale Kappe and Deborah Wilk. "Marquee." Chicago Magazine. 25 June 2004. <http://www.chicagomag.com/primetime/062504marquee.htm> (14 September 2004)
Rick Reed. Windy City Times. 26 June 2002. Liesl Schillinger. "Back to 'Showgirls,' This Time with Socks On." New York Times. 15 August 2004. <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/15/theater/reviews/16HARV.html> (14 September 2004)
hucksterfinn. "Shits & Giggles" hucksterfinn diaryland site. 22 April 2002. <http://hucksterfinn.diaryland.com/020422_88.html> (14 September 2004)

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