Best of Burlesque: 10 Saucy Shows in NYC
Taken from the Italian burlesco meaning “a joke, ridicule or mockery,” burlesque as we know it today has appeared in American culture since the 1860s. Over 100 years later, we can’t seem to quit burlesque and for good reason: it’s a roaring good time. Combining cabaret, comedy, vaudeville and a variety show, audiences love to be scandalized by the best burlesque has to offer. Here are our picks for the best burlesque shows in NYC.

Class and sass at Victrola Burlesque show.

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Any first-timers out there? If you’re looking to be exposed to the vintage elegance of this art form, the Victrola Burlesque show is perfect. Known for its tasteful and upscale productions, this show-stopper features A-team talent from the likes of Ula Uberbusen and her troop of lovely ladies who will have you blushing and delighting for more.

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A scandalous evening at Le Scandal Cabaret.

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Walk into the world of burlesque at Le Scandal Cabaret, NYC’s longest running cabaret variety show. Dimly lit, cozy and intimate, you’ll fall in love with the room’s speakeasy vibe as you watch acts like a sword swallowing bellydancer, a contortionist, a lasso swinging cowboy, a hilarious juggler, an illusionist and many, many more. Make sure you bring some extra dough to purchase delicious food and drinks for a night of exuberant entertainment.

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The marvelous vaudeville of the early 20th century.

Have you ever felt like you were born in the wrong era? Have you ever wanted to go back to the glory days of the past, à la Midnight in Paris? If you visit this cabaret show, you’ll feel like the world’s first time traveler. Acclaimed vocalist Jesse Luttrell headlines The Bawdy Show, which features vaudeville style singing, dancing and even striptease. Visit Luttrell and the gang for a show that will satisfy your nostalgia for old time entertainment.

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Burlesque, Bond and...the beach?

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Burlesque with a dress code from 1960s and ‘70s spy movies, featuring villains and femme fatales? Yes, please. Hop aboard NYC’s waters on a yacht to experience a burlesque show like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Part party, part burlesque variety show, this event will have you and your friends dancing (and drinking) the night away to the best 60s beach beats. Just be sure to order your martinis shaken, not stirred.

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A trip to Brooklyn for the Floating Kabarette.

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What do you get when you combine Cirque du Soleil, the Moulin Rouge and even more acrobatics? A show at the Floating Kabarette, of course. With the right combination of creative acts, humor, sex appeal and class, any of the shows at the Floating Kabarette are worth the trek over to DUMBO, Brooklyn. Grab your tickets and settle in to watch the finest burlesque dancing, singing and aerial stunts this side of the East River.

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Guilty pleasures at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre.

Your lips may be sealed at this naughty burlesque variety show, but the performers at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre have theirs wide open to sing numbers from your favorite musical icons (including Beyonce). Enjoy a night full of show-stopping song and dance productions, contortion acts and fishnet stockings. Finally, you can live out your guilty pleasures and discover there’s nothing wrong about enjoying a little burlesque.

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Bushwick’s best burlesque.

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Bushwick, the new Williamsburg, is home to more than displaced hipsters and gentrification. It’s also home to North Brooklyn’s finest burlesque variety show. Each month’s show is different from the last so you’ll never exactly what's coming up next—but you can be assured it’s something that will knock your stockings off. Featuring scandalous sequined outfits, stylish dance numbers and absurd acts, you’ll blush and bash at this Bushwick delight.

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Burlesque is never a drag—except in this show.

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In this NYC drag show tour, you’ll stop by the Stonewall Inn aka the birthplace of the gay rights movement to see a drag show by one of the city’s best performers. Afterwards, you’ll wander over to Hell’s Kitchen to watch a professionally trained opera singing drag queen—who was featured on America’s Got Talent—belt out some bangers at this at this one-of-a-kind venue. Once the show is over, stick around and dance the night away to put a perfect end to a unique and exciting evening.

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Meet the Wigglettes, burlesque’s Rockettes.

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In the city that never sleeps, you can find all sorts of entertainment at any hour of the night. Ditch the Netflix this Saturday evening and venture out to the Slipper Room instead. Host Richard Castle will guide you through a show of comedy and burlesque during which you’ll watch cheeky (literally) performances from the Wigglettes. Let loose and unwind during this uproarious and sinfully delightful show.

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Friday Night Burlesque.

Forget Saturday Night Fever—Friday Night Burlesque is where it’s at. At Hotel Chantelle’s variety show with Calamity Chang, it feels more like a slumber party (albeit one out of a college movie) than a night out as you watch a sexy and sultry performance from the dancers. Open that bottle of wine, drink up and giggle the night away with your open-minded girlfriends like it is a slumber party.

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