Chicago performer Brigid Murphy was sitting in Nashville’s famed Tootsie's Orchid Lounge more than 30 years ago when an idea popped into her head. It was there she decided to create an alter ego that’s equal parts Dolly Parton, Flo from the TV show “Alice” and performer Ethel Merman: Millie May Smith.
Since that epiphany, Murphy has had a three decades-plus run with “Milly’s Orchid Show,” a modern vaudeville show which had its first show in the old Lounge Ax club in Lincoln Park.
The show is a mix of jugglers, fire eaters, dancers, singers and storytellers with Milly Mae at the center of it all. Murphy scaled back her work when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1993, but she brought Milly’s Orchid Show back to the stage just two years later. Now, she’s putting the final touches on the latest incarnation, “Milly’s Summer Extravaganza.”
Brigid Murphy joins the Morning Shift to tell us what the audience can expect with this show, how the Milly has evolved over the years and how she’s the one responsible for bringing Blue Man Group to Chicago.
GUEST: Brigid Murphy, creator of Milly’s Orchid Show
LEARN MORE: Milly’s Orchid Show event page
'Orchid Show' is back: We've missed you but never forgotten, Milly (Chicago Tribune, 7/14/18)