This past Saturday, Oct. 19, the Alliance held the 9th Annual Wheaton Campus Drag Show. It was a night full of laughs, talented performances and, of course, a lot of drag. This night of highlights was hosted by two celebrity impersonators: Devon Cass (as Cher) and Athena Reich (as Lady Gaga). There were performances by local drag personality Calypso Phoenix Brown, two guest a cappella groups, the Wheatones and The Blend, as well as five different drag acts. Overall, it was a fun-filled and enthusiastically received evening.
The night began with performances from Cher and Lady Gaga, quickly filling Cole Chapel with cheers, hoots, and hollers from the crowd in the pews. What better way to get people riled up than by pulling audience members on stage as Cher did? After Cher excited an already rowdy student body, Calypso took the stage and started the night with some great moves, even involving a strip tease.
Promptly after that, the student performers began five different acts. The acts started with a dance and lip-sync number by drag persona Aviana to the song “Peacock” by Katy Perry. This was followed by Nicolette and the Olympians lip-syncing and dancing to “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from the film “Hercules.” After that, the duo Niko Suave and Dick Thickwood danced to “Mambo Number 5” by Lou Bega. That was followed by “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele performed live by Karisma. Last but not least, Amber Shaft danced and lip-synced to “Birthday Cake” by Rihanna. The whole night was full of diverse acts, each independently successful and unique.
In the end though, audience members were reminded that this was a competition for best performance. There was a winner, runner-up, and crowd favorite. The judges were Blair Davis ’14, Patty Rezendes of SSSR, and Calypso. In the end, the grand prize went to “Niko Suave and Dick Thickwood,” the runner-up was “Nicolette and the Olympians,” and the crowd favorite was “Aviana.” This is not to say that the other acts weren’t well received by the crowd, as each drag queen or king incited yelling and cheering in the audience. Every act was a great display of talent and courage.
After the show, Nick Cicchinelli ’14 had the following thoughts about the importance of the drag show: “It brings people together in the campy spirit of drag to break down stigma and stereotypes surrounding gender expression by parodying and poking fun at restrictive societal gender role expectations. The fact that we can have the show in the Chapel speaks volumes about the tolerant and cooperative atmosphere we’re so lucky to have here at Wheaton… It’s a way for people to celebrate their differences and feel free to be whomever or whatever they feel called to be.”
Overall, this event was highly successful, with performers and audience members having fun and enjoying the freedom to be who they want to be and want the world to know them as.
The Alliance used the Drag Show as a charity fundraiser for BAGLY, the Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Transgender Youth, which is a non-profit social justice community center that provides support and services to disadvantaged LGBTQ youth in the Boston area. The Drag Show was coordinated by Alliance executive members President Tanner Lewis ’16, Vice President Nicholas Cicchinelli ’14, Secretary Margaret Fogarty ’15 and Publicity Chair Jillian Deibold ’14. SHAG was also present, tabling the event and helping throughout the evening. If the noise coming from the chapel that evening is an appropriate indicator of success, the night was an enormous one.