Los Angeles

Dame Edna Retiring After 60 Years of Entertaining Masses

The “possums” are all dressed in black, mourning the farewell, but Dame Edna Everage is all blinding color and smiles.

Yes, after 60 years of entertaining the masses, Dame Edna is retiring the periwinkle wigs, frighteningly fabulous frocks and bejeweled specs. The “Glorious Goodbye” plays San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre from Tuesday, March 17, through Sunday, March 22.

“This tour will be having its world premiere in San Francisco,” Dame Edna said, suspiciously, “after a provincial tryout in Los Angeles.”

Dame Edna said that long run in Southern California was tantamount to dress rehearsals, and Bay Area audiences will be getting the real show with song, dance and gladiolas waving in the air.

The character was birthed in the ’50s via writer-actor, Barry Humphries, and in the decades since his creation appeared as a frumpy housewife on Australian TV, the two have become more and more like separate people. (Everage refers to Humphries as her manager.) Dame Edna has appeared on dozens of TV shows—including her own talk show—on movie screens and has an autobio, “My Gorgeous Life,” to her credit.

Amazingly, while Humphries turned 81 last month, Edna passes for much younger. She could even consider a name change from Everage to Neverage.

“It never occurred to me that Everage sounds like never age; doesn't it? Dame Edna Neverage. Very good. Brilliant. I never thought about it,” Dame Edna laughed.

Edna is known for dropping bon mots as well as names, as she said she’ll likely be staying with author, Amy Tan, in Sausalito or bebopping around town with Denise Hale.

Clearly, we run in different social circles.

“I think you do,” Dame Edna, who refers to herself as showbiz aristocracy, said. “Corey, I’m well connected.”

Fans of Dame Edna’s live shows can expect an extravaganza, she said.

“Anything I do is an extravaganza, even if it’s just me pushing a heavy-laden cart around Whole Foods,” she said.

Jewels and fancy frocks when grocery shopping?

“I wear attractive clothing. Obviously, it’s beautifully made and precious fabrics, but it looks like something any ordinary person could afford, if they got a double mortgage and an enormous bank loan. I do my own shopping, Corey, and I’m never pestered because people think, ‘It looks like Dame Edna, but it couldn't be because she’s doing her own shopping,’” she said. “They would think I have some young man with white socks and brown legs, little shorts and sticking-up blonde hair doing it for me, but I do it myself when I travel. I travel very lightly. I don’t have an entourage. I have a gynecologist I travel with; that’s about it.

Better safe than sorry. While you may feel implored to bring gifts for Dame Edna’s goodbye, she politely says, “Do not,” as they’re always horrible.

“I do want the audience to dress nicely. I don’t want to see dirty trainers, horrible jeans, sweatshirts. I want to see nicely-dressed people,” Dame Edna said. “It’s a night out. Going to the theater is special. If people aren’t dressed nicely, I’m going to send them home.”

Visit shnsf.com for more info about Dame Edna’s “Glorious Goodbye.”

There are a limited number of $40 rush tickets available two hours before each performance, cash only.

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