"...Magri and his group evoke’s the hot jazz bands that used to back the dancers and Magri's precise timing of brass and percussion to undulating movement, bumps and gyrations is a thing of raunchy beauty and a joy forever." - The Times-Picayune, New Orleans
In 1999 Ronnie Magri became the Musical Director, Bandleader & Drummer for the Shim Shamettes, one of the first authentic 1950's style burlesque revival shows in the nation. The show made its debut in April 1999, for the Grand Opening of the Shim Sham Club (1999-2004) performing on the same bill alongside saxophone legend Sam Butera (Louis Prima & Keely Smith). Along with his group, Ronnie Magri & the Shim Sham Revue Band, the Shim Shamettes performed regularly at the Shim Sham Club located in New Orleans' French Quarter.
Magri & his band, along with the Shim Shamettes, were featured prominently in the two-hour A&E documentary, It's Burlesque! The show premiered on television in March 2001. That same year, Magri and his group backed some of the very first names in neo-burlesque at the first ever neo-burlesque convention, Tease-O-Rama, which was held in New Orleans, May 18-20, 2001.
When the Shim Shamettes disbanded in 2002, Magri was instrumental in putting together the Shim Sham Revue, featuring the Southern Jeze-Belles, a six-girl burlesque troupe. The show featured a comic emcee, along with New Orleans theater legend & comedienne Becky Allen and a cast of rotation female singers including Marcy Von Hesseling (Star & Dagger), Ingrid Lucia (The Flying Neutrinos) & Debbie Davis. The show became popular not only with locals, but famous worldwide and was featured in such publications as: USA Today, Playboy, Maxim, The Wall Street Journal and other media sources.
While working with the Shim Shamettes & Shim Sham Revue, Magri had the chance to meet and work with several of the former stars of Bourbon Street Burlesque during it's heyday, including Kitty West (Evangeline the Oyster Girl), Wild Cherry (the Firecracker of Bourbon Street), Linda Brigette (the Cupid Doll) & Tajmah (Jewel of the Orient).
In 2002, Magri released his album “Shim Sham Revue” The Music of New Orleans Burlesque Shows of the 30s, 40s, and 50s". A thoroughly entertaining CD that brings to life music that once filled the nightclubs of Bourbon Street, and seeped into the cobblestones of every hot and humid alley, passageway, and courtyard of the Vieux Carre. Included in the CD are beautiful renditions of such classic stripper numbers as "Stormy Weather" and "Mood Indigo," and also a newly-discovered original composition for headliner "Evangeline the Oyster Girl”. The album was nominated for two 2002 Offbeat Magazine "Best of the Beat" awards for "Best Album by a Louisiana Artist" and "Best Emerging Band." In 2003, Magri was nominated for a Big Easy Entertainment award for "Best Traditional Jazz Band."
On television, Magri’s music was featured in such shows as: “Sexual Healing” (Showtime), “Forty Deuce” (Bravo). Freeride w/ Greta Gaines (Oxygen Network), It’s Burlesque (A&E) and “The Nightlife That Was” (WYES New Orleans).
Through his work with the Shim Sham Revue, Magri has also been associated with burlesque superstar Dita Von Teese (Playboy Covergirl December 2002). Dita made her New Orleans burlesque debut with the first of five appearances with the Shim Sham Revue in 2002. Since then, Magri has collaborated with Dita and has had his music used in her shows: MAC Viva Glam "Lipteese”, “Be Cointreau" and "Strip! Strip! Hooray!". Dita also gave special acknowledgment to Magri in her 2006 book “Burlesque and the Art of the Teese”.
In print, Magri is featured in books such as “Burlesque and the New Bump-n-Grind” by Michelle Baldwin, (Speck Press 2004) and “The Burlesque Handbook” (HarperCollins 2010) by founder of the New York School of Burlesque, Jo Weldon. Weldon has also released three How-To Burlesque and Striptease DVDs (via World Dance New York), featuring music from Magri.
In 2015 it was announced that Ronnie Magri would be Guest of Honor at the BurlyCon 2015 Burlesque Education & Social Convention in Seattle, Washington. Ronnie was honored for his work as a Neo-Burlesque Pioneer & Music Historian.
In a journey that has taken him from Avenue B to Bourbon Street, and back to NYC, Magri continues to be involved in the neo-burlesque scene. Since returning to New York he has performed with Bonnie Dunn's Le Scandal as member of the group the NYC Blues Devils, as well as the New York Burlesque Festival, Coney Island's Burlesque On The Beach, The Slipper Room, The Champagne Riot, Dances of Vice and more.
While burlesque fever takes over the world, Ronnie Magri continues to be recognized as a talented and entertaining drummer & bandleader, who behind every bump and grind helps to keep the spirit of burlesque alive for years to come!