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Fringe Preview: Burnt at the Steak

Carolann Valentino brings her inspirational show about following your dreams to the Victoria Fringe Festival.
Carolann Valentino brings her hit show Burnt at the Steak all the way from New York City to the Victoria Fringe.

Get ready for a buffet of prime steakhouse stories in Burnt at the Steak by Carolann Valentino.

Written and performed by Valentino, this one-woman portrayal of 18 choice-cut characters through song, dance, comedy and improv will leave you with a belly full of laughter and a Grade A smile.

The story of a young performing artist who leaves her home in Texas to open a multi-million dollar steakhouse in New York City is completely auto-biographical.

“Everything in my show is true,” says Valentino. “A lot of times people add stuff to make it dramatic, but I wanted to keep it very accurate.”

The company she worked for sent her to New York for a three-week opening, but when the three weeks were over, Valentino decided to stay.

“While I was there for the three weeks, working my butt off, I put on a cabaret show in the basement of the basement of the hotel I was staying in ... I sold out this well-known cabaret room and the CEO and everyone said I needed to stay, so they offered me a job in the restaurant.”

Valentino quickly became the manager and spent her evenings writing and performing.

“I was literally doing the impossible,” she says. As the years went by, both of her careers exploded and Valentino was running on empty. She got very sick; she was suffering from chronic fatigue and her organs were shutting down.

“To be completely frank, I absolutely loved my job. I was very good at it and I made a lot of money. I could have my cake and eat it, too, but I was paying the price. My body started to shut down.”

She got a call from her doctor, who told her she needed to take a step back. “I had to literally chose which path and I literally gave up everything in an instant; the job, the savings, the Trump apartment on the river, my boyfriend. It was the first time I was clear on why I was getting sick ... I didn’t want to look back at my life and say I never put my passion to work.”

“I jumped off a cliff without a net and I got many gifts from that; I got a national tour, a recurring soap opera role, a print campaign, a musical theatre gig, I wrote this show — and two weeks after I created it, it sold out all over California.”

Coming off a recent Best of Fest nod at the Calgary Fringe, Valentino is excited to bring her hit show to Victoria for the first time.

“I’m doing improv one second, then I’m doing a musical theatre song where I’m interacting with the audience, and then I go into a monologue and I just did six characters, so you’re never bored. I’m giving 250 per cent of myself and that’s what people get. It’s an inspirational, truthful story.”

Expect to meet some colourful characters from the American East-Coast, including restaurant patrons like “drunk Wall Street guy,” and a British socialite who reenacts a scene from Total Recall a la Sharon Stone.

“The east-coast guidette may seem like a character to you in Canada, but they’re very real. I’m actually under-toning it, they’re actually worse,” says Valentino with a laugh.

“The whole reason I’m here is not for ticket sales. It’s about the people and my desire to share my message of just being the fullest expression of who you are no matter what.” M


Burnt at the Steak

Solo musical comedy

Langham Court Theatre (805 Langham)

Carolann Valentino Productions (new York, NY)

Solo comedy/musical

75 minutes

PG 14+

Tues., Aug. 28 at 7:15pm

Wed., Aug. 29 at 9:30pm

Thurs., Aug. 30 at 7;45pm

Fri., Aug. 31 at 9:45pm

Sat., Sept. 1 at 12:15pm

Sun., Sept. 2 at 8:45pm



More Fringe Previews Here:


The Cockwhisperer — A Love Story (Colette Kendall, Hamilton, ONT)


Hanafuda Denki — A Tale of Playing Cards (Ryuzanki Company, Tokyo, Japan)


Little Lady (Sandrine Lafond inc., Las Vegas, NV)


Beautiful Obedient Wife (The Chicken my Grandmother Gave Me Productions, Victoria, BC)


Redheaded Stepchild — (Nobody's Business Theatre, Toronto, ONT)