If you’re fiending for a killer Halloween musical revue that’s simply to die for, the power of Christ compels you to check out Kat Robichaud’s Misfit Cabaret Presents: Horror Show this weekend at the Great Star Theater. Horror Show is a monster mashup of dozens of movie scenes, spooky songs, and batty pop culture references that add plenty of paranormal activity to Robichaud’s recurring diva nightclub act.
Best-known for her 2013 run on NBC’s The Voice, Robichaud should be known as The Voice. Her electrifying vocal range, gift for slapstick theatrics, and amazing collection of fright wigs make every reincarnation of Misfit Cabaret a real scream, so SF Weekly spoke to Robichaud to see what’s on the slab for Horror Show.
“It’s a perfect marriage between musicals and rock ’n’ roll,” she says of Misfit Cabaret, whose previous iterations included the nautical-themed Whimsea, fairy tale-inspired Grimm, and the Oscar Wilde nod Wilde Women. “It’s this crazy musical variety show that also showcases local San Francisco talent.
“Our last Halloween show was A Very Bloody Misfit Cabaret, so we had a lot of really bloody, bloody scenes,” she adds, noting the extreme volumes of blood used in the production required that ponchos be distributed to VIP and front-row guests. “Horror Show focuses more on slasher films and serial killers. So we have a lot of fun with that.”
You may have seen Kat Robichaud and her band The Darling Misfits on the main stage at San Francisco Pride this year. Bits of her upcoming albums are released to her Patreon subscribers, but you can catch some of these numbers in Horror Show.
“For each Misfit Cabaret, I write two original songs that coincide with the themes of the evening,” Robichaud says, adding, “Our variety acts are burlesque, drag, aerial, and vaudeville, and we always have a musical guest.”
Horror Show’s variety acts include Shovelman — whose guitar is literally a souped-up shovel, goth drag queen Johnny Rockitt, burlesque dancer JonBenet Butterbuns, and racy clown troupe Fou Fou Ha!, whose flesh is anything but weak.
There is also some classic Kat in the litter for Robichaud’s true fans.
“The Misfit Cabaret theme song is a love letter to San Francisco and the underground art scene, and all of the weird people who have come from oppressive towns seeking sanctuary,” Robichaud says. “The album version has the original cast of the first Misfit Cabaret, but we update the lyrics for every single show to reflect on who’s in the show that night.”
“I’m usually writing the lyrics the day of,” she admits.
Halloween shows require Robichaud to double her toil and trouble to deliver excessive costuming, wigs on top of wigs, and gallons of blood. Last year’s show brought on a mishap when she recreated the blood-spill finale from Carrie.
“We had this eight-foot-tall set piece of the senior prom from Carrie,” Robichaud remembers. “We had me in a kiddie pool that we draped with white cloth.”
Great Star Theater’s ownership delivered an ultimatum: The fake blood could not, under any circumstances, touch the theater’s movie screen or curtains, both of which are valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.
“We were so worried about the blood getting on anything, so I found a special blood recipe online that was supposed to be non-staining,” she says. “The main ingredient of the blood was Dial soap.”
Soap may be friendly on curtains, but not so much on human eyeballs.
“As the blood poured down my face, it got in my eyes and completely blinded me,” Robichaud recalls. “I had about 15 minutes of show still to perform. I’m running around the stage, searing in pain, blind.
“My stage manager had a super soaker ready to spray me in the eyes with water. It just made the soap sud up worse. It was terrible,” she says. “The next morning my eyes were swollen shut. I had to go to the pharmacy and get special drops so I could perform it again that night.”
Too bad Robichaud lacked telekinesis like the real Carrie, or she could have simply moved everyone else around stage. In any case, the Great Star Theater has long been rumored to be haunted, but Horror Show will really raise your spirits. This Halloween installment of Misfit Cabaret has enough delightful tricks and treats that any real ghosts would be boo-ed offstage.
Misfit Cabaret: Horror Show Costumes, Friday, Oct. 27, 10 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 p.m., at the Great Star Theater, 636 Jackson St. $20-$250; horrorshowsf.eventbrite.com. Costumes on Haight is sponsoring nightly costume contests, so come dressed to kill.