Once upon a time, on a very different South Beach, boys could be girls and girls could be boys and the only time anybody blinked an eye was when it had gone wide from all the fabulousness. Better yet, everybody got in on all that fabulousness, no matter what their preference or how they preferred to dress.
And boy was it fabulous. Not just because on any given night hip hop thugs rubbed shoulders with top shelf supermodels, Hollywood starlets parried with bona fide rockstars, or snap happy paparazzi stalked slap happy mafiosi (though there was that); but because a local contingent of some of the most colorful creatures on the planet reigned absolutely supreme. That the most kaleidoscopic of those creatures happened to be glamor-prone men whose gifts included channeling the voices of some of the most glamorous women in song only made it more so.
This Wednesday night, those heady days are about to be reborn. The place: that storied back of stage of the Fillmore reverently christened the Gleason Room. The culprits: a wowsome pride of Windy City diviners known as Kit Kat Divas. Sure, the glam gals hail from Chicago, but they and their same-named Lounge and Supper Club continue to carry the same kinda torch that enflamed South Beach at its very hottest.
If you were lucky enough to swing The Strip way back when, you know what we're talking about; if you missed it, here's your chance to find out.
Cultist reached out to Edward Gisiger and Ramesh Ariyanayakam, the main men behind Chi-town's knockout phenom, and asked them to give us the dish in advance of Kit Kat Divas upcoming all-star show.
New Times: What was the vision behind Kit Kat Divas (and whose bright idea was it)?
The original vision for Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club was dinner theater, as there were very few places where one could go to enjoy fabulous martinis, a chef-driven dinner and a lively show, all in one setting. We enhanced the entertainment by dazzling the diners with beautiful female impersonators who embody iconic illusions. Edward created the concept and Ramesh developed a plan to translate the vision into a reality. For 15 years Chicago's Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club has been a much sought after destination, with guests arriving from around the world, as well as around the corner.
Where does all this fabulousness take place?
Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club is located in the heart of Chicago's Boystown neighborhood, which named OutTraveler named the world's most "incomparable" gayborhood. There are over 30 bars and restaurants on this 10-block stretch of North Halsted, which is just north of downtown, just south of Wrigley Field, and just steps away from the beaches of Lake Michigan.
Kit Kat is elegantly designed with an "Old Hollywood meets South Beach" style, and features vintage black-and-white movies on state-of-the-art screens which entirely surround the Supper Club. Guests may choose one of 200 unique martinis (such as Kitty's Dream, Ruby Slipper, Lava Lamp) and dine on new American cuisine dishes that are named for Hollywood royalty (i.e. Mae West, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren), all while Kit Kat Divas perform tableside throughout the Lounge. Intermittent shows include performances by "Madonna," "Katy Perry," "Cher," "P!NK," "Diana Ross," and more.
Who all makes all this fabulousness possible?
Like any fabulous starlet walking the red carpet, it takes a great team to get there. While vision and overall execution is led by by Edward and Ramesh, it's Kit Kat's amazing crew which pulls the show together. Dan Suvanto is the Chief Mixologist. He's been with Kit Kat for 12 years and is responsible for creating the extensive drink menu. Dan's chosen 25 of our most popular Chicago cocktails to offer during the Miami show.
Our Divas are led by Madam X, who's been at Kit Kat for more than 14 years, where she channels everyone from Lady Gaga to Julie Andrews every Sunday for our award-winning "Diva-licious Brunch." Joining Madam X are Divas Sunny Deelite, Aurora Sexton, Mokha Montrese, Sara Andrews, Kinley Preston and Traci Ross, who collectively boast such titles as "Miss Gay USA", "Entertainer of the Year", "Miss Continental" and "All American Goddess". From time to time contestants from Ru Paul's Drag Race also make appearances.
Which Chi-town Divas will be making their way to Miami?
Divas Sara Andrews and Aurora Sexton will be performing in our November series of South Beach shows; we'll rotate in others over the coming months. Needless to say, we are all extremely excited to be introducing these extraordinary talents to this wonderful city.
Are there any South Floridians joining them on the bill?
Yes! Electra and Champagne Bordeaux (Fort Lauderdale) and Dulce Aaliyah Andrews (Tampa) will all be performing in our initial South Beach run. And we've got equally stunning surprises lined up for subsequent months. We pride ourselves on only casting the very best female impersonators, from across the country, so you can bet you'll be treated to someone who'll take away your breath.
Why did you decide to bring the show to The Gleason Room?
The show's incredible partnership with Live Nation led us to The Gleason Room at The Fillmore, which we fell in love with at first sight. The size of the space is ideal for Kit Kat Divas Live, as is its history, and its location. We've both also been inspired to start work on bringing Kit Kat Divas Live to various other Live Nation venues nationwide.
How often will the Divas be appearing in Miami?
Kit Kat Divas Live will be at The Gleason Room monthly, for six months, starting in November. Shows run from Thursday through Sunday (one each), and two on Fridays and Saturdays. Oh, and take note: our December run (December18-21) will be a Holiday Spectacular!
If you had but one sentence that sums up what's in store when Kit Kat takes The Fillmore, what would it be?
Miami simply has no idea what we have in store!
Kit Kat Divas Live previews Wednesday October 29, at 8 p.m. by invite only at the Gleason Room. The show goes into regular rotation from Thursday, November 20 through Sunday, November 23. Tickets are on sale now.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.