I’ll ask you to cast your mind back to 1985 when a then mullet-haired, precocious 5-year-old Em was preparing yet another home concert interpretive dance extravaganza; which she may or may not have planned to make up on the spot.
The Music: Like A Virgin
I’m NOT shitting you. I was already convinced that Madge was my biological Mother so it was either going to be something from her or Wham. As for the topic of the song, the only association I had with the word ‘virgin’ was the 5 litre drum of Olive Oil my Dad Vincie kept next to the stove.
The Set: A small chaotic toy room with blankets haphazardly thrown over piles of crap so as not to distract my audience (who I’d assured I’d cleaned said toy room two days earlier) from my performance.
Dolls were lined up, the cat trapped in a pram, three tiny chairs were positioned a few inches from the stage for maximum eye contact possibilities and my family were summoned to watch yet another elaborate one woman stage show.
Fast forward thirty-five years and the only things that’s changed is the set is a little larger, I write my own innuendo laden music and my cat Fluffy is no longer with us (RIP Fluffy). My Father is still made to sit and watch my performances, because he’s in my band – he’s literally a metre from me at all times. My neediness as a child knows no limits. If you had’ve told 5-year-old Em she would one day be given her very own TV spectacular, she would have probably said: “Yes, I expected that would happen. Now can you please find me some sequins, five pink ponies and a cake to jump out of”.
Now, I know people have TV shows all the time, and no-one in the history of the word has carried on nearly as much as I have in the lead up to my musical standup show being on the tellie tonight, but let me tell you why. One thing I’ve learned in life is to take the wins when they come along and roll around right to the edges in them. There have been times when I didn’t know if I would ever work again. There was a time when I was painted as basically the worst human in media. There was a time I was so broken by grief, I wasn’t sure if I could get out of my PJs, let alone be funny again. But here we are, and I we may never be here again (if the show isn’t received well!) so I will continue to shout it from the rooftops (and on The Project tonight BTW. Channel 10, 6.30pm)
So for those of you who are new here, the Rage and Rainbows musical comedy concert is a celebration of female rage and joy. It’s my love letter to the women of the world who have felt that they’ve had to make themselves smaller for society. Be it physically, mentally, emotionally or in any other way they may have contorted or suppressed who they really are and/or how they really feel. It’s also a show to help the men of world understand why some of the women they love have been walking around PISSED OFF but not really sure why. Dudes! This is gold dust, this is secret women’s business, this will make things better for you – so maybe take notes, ‘kay?! I wrote all the songs in the show with some of my cleverest pals, they are on Spotify and Apple Music and pretty much anywhere you listen to your tunes if you want a preview before tonight.
If you’re reading this and you are one of the 3000+ who came along to the taping – thanks for helping me pay for this thing to be made. You literally made a huge dream of mine come true.
I’ll leave the last word to my pal Wil Anderson who saw my show and said the following:
“It was amazing. I have thought about it a lot since, which is the sign of a really good show. It’s unlike anything else that’s out there at the moment. It’s part Lady Gaga, part Australian Idol, part John Farnham, part Barry Humphries at his greatest suburban satire, part Ru Paul’s Drag Race. There’s giant dancing vulvas and brilliant songs, and an eight-piece band. It’s a force of nature.I’ve seen all the best comedians in the world, and this show is so fucking funny. Laugh-out-loud, gut-punchingly funny. It landed hard and strong and fierce. It’s like watching a six-part Eurovision. I imagine when Madonna wanted to try stand up: she had a dream about Em Rusciano’s show.It’s for an audience that isn’t being catered to by other theatres. It’s a spectacular celebration. It’s incredibly educational. It was a wonderful show, I loved it.”
I cried REAL SALTY tears when I heard him say that. See you on the tellie tonight you guys (and on The Project beforehand, if you want to pre-game with me).
8:30pm, Channel Ten!