Afterglow Festival

Tammy Faye Starlite

July 31st, 2018  |  Published in Artists

Tammy Lang a/k/a Tammy Faye Starlite has come to be one of the brightest stars in the Downtown New York scene.  The always peripatetic Tammy maintains a busy schedule of performances, guest appearances and benefits, not only in Manhattan but around the country with appearances in LA, Palm Springs, Chicago, St Louis, Pittsburgh as well as the farthest reaches of New Jersey and New Hampshire.  She’s been a girl on the go-go since her soap opera days when she was a regular on The Guiding light portraying one of two “wacky maids.”  Allison Janney was the other one.

She later came up with the Tammy Faye Starlite character, a chipper yet bitter country music singer whose reactionary rantings and authentically convincing Partonesque vocals made for sophisticated satire of the highest — or lowest — order.  Her jaw-dropping repertoire included such ersatz country classics as “God Has Lodged A Tenant In My Uterus” and “Did I Shave My Vagina For This?” among other campfire favorites.  Against all odds, the act was accepted not only in New York and LA but also in Nashville where her sold-out performances both scandalized and thrilled club goers.  Her following in Music City grew exponentially to the point where the fire marshal had to be called on at least one occasion.

In recent times, her startling feats of musical reincarnation she has created a new kind of cabaret. Equally gifted as an actor and singer, Lang deep-dives into the vaults of art-pop-rock-whatever and returns clutching buried treasures. In Nico: Underground— her bio-show, as it might be called – she brings back the late Velvet Underground icon in all of her fuzzed-out, deadpan glory.  With mentions of Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown, John Cale and Andy Warhol, she animates the character providing both historical context and up to the minute contemporary references.

With Cabaret Marianne, Lang salutes Marianne Faithfull one of the great, straight-talking divas of modern pop music, another foreboding yet tragically vulnerable blonde icon of the 1960s.  She pays homage by performing a singular repertoire that is bitingly and world weary while commenting on the continuing downward spiral of the culture.  Both portrayals are much more than mere concert tributes; she possesses these real life characters provides with spiky monologues woven between songs that have had audiences alternately laughing and gasping. Nico and Faithfull were women committed to following their own rocky paths. They stood for a bruising new vision of love and other let downs. Now, thanks to Lang, they stand before us once again.

Beyond those portrayals, Tammy has been pursing a new concept that she’s in the process of refining.  Her aim is to adapt and rearrange noted Rolling Stones songs in order to make them come alive in a cabaret context.  Just A Kiss Away, her latest project, finds her tackling Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, is scheduled to run for a month of Thursdays at Manhattan’s Panega in this October. Tammy’s approach to the Jagger/Richards songbook finds her bringing intimacy to the Stones’ repertoire while channeling the attitude and affect of Mick Jagger, but with less estrogen.

“Remarkable — and howlingly funny.. a funny, morbidly fascinating night of theater.”
-Charles Isherwood/NY Times

“The show mocks and honors its subject with loving regard.”
-David Fricke/Rolling Stone

“Tammy Faye Starlite channels the chanteuse’s languid essence..” (she is) “..a performer who thrives on spontaneity and improvisation.”
-David Keeps/LA Times

“…a brilliant, nuanced performance, completely convincing, at once a sly parody, but also an admiring nod to the original, a loving rendition of a pop culture icon…”
-Roy Trakin/HITS

“Jaw-dropping.. a serious comic creation intended to be so authentic that it might be mistaken for the real thing.”
-Stephen Holden/NY Times

“…a performance artist [with the ability to] slip into someone else’s skin.”
-Robert Christagu/MSN Music

‘There wasn’t a minute when we didn’t think we weren’t watching the real Nico.”
-Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, a/k/a The Pet Shop Boys

‘Starlite’s performance was brilliant.. Her German-accented singing and biting comments between songs captured the essence of Nico.”
-Gary Stoll/No Depression

“This woman is amazing.”
-Will Hermes/Rolling Stone

“The daring, hilarious, persona-shifting Starlite pays tribute to glacial German singer Nico…”
-Adam Feldman/Time Out New York