Everyone loves Tupperware, right? Well, so does Dixie Longate, America’s top-seller of the famous plastic ware, who comes to Saugatuck’s Mason Street Warehouse beginning July 21 and throws a good ol’ fashioned Tupperware party filled with outrageously funny tales, free giveaways and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage. She’s packed houses from New York to the west coast and Podunk towns in between – earning her accolades and a Drama Desk nomination along the way. The fast-talking, widowed mother of three chatted recently with Between The Lines and revealed some of the secrets behind her astounding success.
So when did you first get interested in selling Tupperware?
Well, it was my parole officer that started me on the whole thing. She said that I needed a job in order to get my kids back once I get released. Of course, I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first. Getting my kids back, I mean. The Tupperware sounded fantastic.
How much of a market is there for Tupperware in Alabama where you come from?
People everywhere want Tupperware. It is the best crap on the planet. Once you see it, you are instantly hooked. It reminds you of your grandmother, you know, the one who used to let you hit the hooch when your Dad wasn’t looking. And who doesn’t want to be reminded of her?
So what did you have to do to become America’s number one personal seller of Tupperware?
In order to become number one, I just really challenged myself. I went to the Jubilee, Tupperware’s national convention, and I saw all of these ladies getting recognized and I thought, Well hell, I want to be on stage too and get diamond necklaces and prizes! So I just made goals like crazy, and I found that people were always supportive of that. I set my sights on being number one and I just didn’t rest my head until I booked enough parties and sold enough crap to achieve that.
What’s your best seller?
My best seller is the Can Opener. It absolutely will change your life. Sometimes I take it to bed with me just in case. It makes me really happy.
Tupperware parties were quite popular a few decades ago, but rival products and busy lives have lured a lot of woman away from this uniquely American 20th-century institution. What makes your parties so popular?
I treat the event like a party. I know so many people that roll their eyes when you mention Tupperware, because they just think about grandmothers sitting around and sucking on hard rolls and drinking tea while someone tells them which bowl to stick their crap in. Screw that!
So how did your parties end up off-Broadway in New York? It’s not every Tupperware lady who can boast of earning a Drama Desk Award nomination…
I was just minding my own business, doing my parties in people’s living rooms, and a friend came to see one of the parties and thought that it really should be up on stage. He worked with me a wee bit to shape and mold it into a show, and then we went to New York in 2004 to try our hands in the New York Fringe Festival. It ended up becoming a success. Who would have thought that New Yorkers loved their food storage so much?!
Then, it was brought to the attention of a producer out there to run it off-Broadway. That made the show even bigger and got me in front of more people. And that is what led to the tour.
I have now been on the road touring with my Tupperware Party since 2008. And it doesn’t look like there is an end in sight!
How about the men? What’s their favorite product?
Men love the Meat Marinader. It is the perfect place for a guy to put his huge, firm slab of beef and tenderize it overnight in order to stick it on the grill. When you whip that Meat Marinader out of the fridge and flip it and it doesn’t get all messy all over the kitchen, all of a sudden, the men start loving the Tupperware as much as the ladies do.
Wait – what did I just say. Oh my Lord, reverse that. I’m sorry; I meant kicking the baby and walking the ball. I should really not drink so early.
So what should Tupperware aficionados – and theatergoers, of course – expect when you visit Mason Street Warehouse beginning July 21?
You are going to have a blast. It is like a Tupperware party that will have you laughing all night. Trust me, food storage can be a riot.
Bring your friends, bring your husbands, bring your babysitters, just don’t bring the babies. They tend to be sticky, and I don’t have time to clean ’em up.
‘Dixie’s Tupperware Party’
July 21 through Aug. 1 (excluding July 26)
Mason Street Warehouse
400 Culver St., Saugatuck