PerformInk is Chicago’s entertainment industry trade publication.
Photo: The cast of Gorilla Tango’s “Walking Dead Burlesque.”
Gorilla Tango Burlesque, an ensemble of 30 artists employed by Bucktown’s Gorilla Tango Theater, has quit en masse over a new revenue split that has left them without pay for weeks. Gorilla Tango has always operated under a cash-sharing model with its shows, but the company implemented new rules that required the theater to make a profit before shows get a payout. The result has been a lack of pay for the Burlesque troop performers.
Gorilla Tango Burlesque is managed by Gorilla Tango Theater staffers, under the ownership of Dan Abbate (creator of the world’s largest hot dog). The group is known for their kitschy burlesque parodies of pop culture shows and movies, and their performances are a staple at Gorilla Tango.
Performers say they were made aware of the new financial arrangement after performances had taken place that they have not been paid for, and that money from those shows was used to pay the theater’s past deficits, leaving nothing left to split among the performers. Burlesque shows have been removed from the theater’s website.
Abbate said via email that “Gorilla Tango Burlesque is still at Gorilla Tango as always (it is a Gorilla Tango production). We just recently parted ways with many of our current cast members. GTB shows will be back in the coming months after a planned upgrade and remodel of the venue.”