January 05, 2009


Since the death of performer Wayland Flowers in 1988, his over-the-top puppet creation Madame has been seen only sporadically. But with the launch of her new casino tour, Madame is back.

By Lawrence Ferber

During the 1970s and '80s, a silver-haired Hollywood diva ruled the casinos and cabarets, regularly appeared on TV’s Laugh-In and Hollywood Squares, cracked bawdy bon mots with high-rated talk-show hosts, and even starred in her own sitcom, Madame’s Place.

Oh…and she was a puppet.

Glammed up in '30s-style gowns, jewelry, and turbans, with a bulbous heart-shaped chin that rivals Popeye’s (and Quentin Tarantino’s), Madame was the creation of openly gay performer Wayland Flowers, who died of AIDS complications in 1988. After nearly two decades out of the spotlight, and a couple of years warming up with other puppeteers, Madame is making an official comeback on the casino and nightclub circuit with performer Rick Skye pulling the strings in a production titled It’s Madame With an E!