I was very happy to kick off my World Pride Toronto experience with the opening of A Chorus Queen at Hart House Theatre last night; a drag musical conceived by Marc Simcox (also the show’s executive producer and artistic director) and Ramzi Ayyash, with book by Joseph Amenta.
Directed by Heather Nassler, with choreography by Lucas Porter, A Chorus Queen takes us on a journey of live, love and following a dream as we tag along with three intrepid drag queens Tanya (Justin Deschaine/Laydee Justice), Veronica (Devion Farley/Devine Darlin) and Dede (Andrew Pelrine/Bunni Lapin) – sisters in heels – on their trip of self-discovery as they go after their dream of performing at the Moulin Rouge. All presided over by their mentor Mama Rose (Chantelle Helena Carr/Farra N Hyte), and accompanied by a hot and talented ensemble of young men (aka “the boys”), a soundtrack of well-known and beloved show tunes, the hilarious hoofer antics of the puckish Delicious Dick (Jose Arias/Dyna Thirst) – and a struggle against the vicious machinations of the evil queen Unca (Matty Cameron/Scarlett Bobo). Adding to the fun and glamour is a cast of guest queens, including Sofonda Cox, Brooklyn Hytes, Judy Virago, Xtacy Love, Carlotta Carlisle, Jada Hudson, Igby Izzard and Ala Mode.
A Chorus Queen is a singing, dancing, drag extravaganza, featuring stunning costumes by Michael DiFruscio, and witty – sometimes bitchy – banter. The second act especially stands out, with Carr giving her all in a knock-out performance of “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy; and Farley and Pelrine rock “Take Me Or Leave Me” from Rent. I adored the rendition of “You Don’t Own Me” from (the First Wives Club (movie version) from our three heroines Deschaine, Farley and Pelrine – reprised near the end of the show in its full pop glory. And the entire cast gives us a tap number that’ll knock your socks off.
A Chorus Queen is a magically delicious drag musical with sparkles on top. And if that weren’t enough, the show is a fundraiser for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation (PWA).
That’s two reasons to go out and see A Chorus Queen. If you need a third – it’s World Pride! A drag show is pretty much compulsory for a complete Pride experience. The show runs until June 28 – be sure to note the 7:30 p.m. curtain time.
So go forth, get tickets, have lots of fun and support a great cause. And have a happy and safe Pride! xo