Big Mama hits the stage with her Sugar Daddies and retinue

There are few holidays less thrilling than Halloween. When you’re dressed up in a wild costume and breaking it down on the dance floor to nostalgic rock hits, who’s going to turn away a giant green Teletubbie?

This Friday, Oct. 26 Big Mama Gayle and her Sugar Daddies, a larger-than life cabaret act, will treat costumed guests to a wild and spooky night inside the historic Compass Theater Room at the annual McMenamins Grand Lodge Halloween Dance Party.

“You’re never too old to have fun, be silly and rock and roll,” says vaudevillian “Big Mama” Gayle Hayden, 62, who began stunning audiences on the golden stages of Broadway in the 1960s.

Inspired by showbiz icons of bygone cabaret and Las Vegas productions, Hayden and her Sugar Daddies cover everything from rock to swinging jazz, classics, soul, funk, cabaret and beyond.

A veritable one-woman tour-de-force, Big Mama may just scare some with delight, riling crowds to songs like the Romantics’ “What I like about you,” Motown’s “Dancing in the Street,” and the Isley Brothers’ “Shout!” all the while pulling off enough costume changes to make a drag queen feel uncomfortable.

From lavish bedazzled gowns to feathered boas and animal attire, Hayden’s bombastic stage presence can’t be missed, but her snazzily dressed Sugar Daddies and the go-go dancers who boogie down around them try their best to pop more than window dressing.

People say when Hayden performs she doesn’t just put on a show, she puts on an event.

Big Mama claims her Sugar Daddies to be some of the hottest young musicians in the Northwest with Ken Lowther on guitar, Jory Shene on saxophone, Luke Fisher on bass, Joel Redwine on drums and lead-guitarist and comedian Mike Trowbridge.

“It’s glitz, glamor and rock and roll and side-splitting frolic for the whole family,” Big Mama Gayle and the Sugardaddies website reads. It’s the kind of variety show that never ceases to entertain.

Hayden has been gracing stages since the 1960s when she performed on Broadway in the famous hit “Hair.” She also performed in the all-female rock band The Freudian Slips, and

appeared in several magazines,

including ‘Time’, ‘Life’ and, oh yeah, ‘Playboy.’

After years in show business, Hayden was drawn to a quieter life off stage. She became a mother and sought to slow things down. But over the years, her wild side flared again and Big Mama Gayle burst onstage.

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