This is my first lesson in Drag Queen Time. I’ve arrived at the Laundry Bar in South Beach for the Queen Cabaret troupe’s rendition of “Chicago” at 10 p.m. – right on time. None of the drag queens are here yet.
The show was supposed to start by 11:30, but as one drag queen after another casually saunters into the back hallway of the bar to get ready, it becomes clear that the show time was more of a suggestion than a fixed schedule. Up until the last minute, when the curtain was finally raised at 12:30, make up was being applied, wigs adjusted, and buttocks padded.
With all of the hairspray, cigarette smoke, costume parts, and general commotion, it's easy to forget these were men in drag -- until Alexa Cognac suggests I try “strapping [my] dick to the back of [my] neck,” like they do.
The producer/director, Michael Kump (a.k.a. Sable Brown), is one of the last to show up, and later jokes with the crowd: “Sorry we started late. I thought I was pregnant, but the test turned out to be my dog’s.”
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The crowd doesn’t seem bothered at all by the delayed start, and packs around the small stage area to see this unique take on a classic musical. The show is worth the wait – the queens hit the stage with energy, and plenty of glitter, glam, and fishnet stockings.
Fernan D-Cute and Juicy Pussy play their respective roles as Big Mama and Roxy to perfection. Much of the performance is in Spanish – three of the four main members of Queen Cabaret hail from Argentina – a nice twist and a welcome change from a traditional rehashing of the now tired original.
The two-act show lasts past 3 a.m., but as one of the performers says just before the opening curtain, “That’s drag queen time honey. We show up late, but we show up fabulous.”