Stephanie’s Child at The Green Room 42. (Photo: Matthew Wexler)
RuPaul has turned drag into a diamond mine, but with so many divas clamoring for the spotlight, audiences are often presented with cubic zirconia instead of the real deal. It’ll be a decade this February since the show first premiered, and now every Pride celebration, cabaret room, and queer-centric destination books drag talent. The result? Well, it’s all about managing expectations. If you enjoy lip-syncing and death drops your drag palate might be satisfied, but if you’re looking for the real deal, they’re few and far between. Fortunately, Stephanie’s Child — the drag pop vocal trio consisting of Jan Sport, Rosé, and Lagoona Bloo — has given birth to an electric drag genre where singing (and no small amount of comedy) reigns supreme. And audiences are lapping it up like Amanda Lapore is botox.
But if we scroll back the drag hands of time, it’s only fair to pay homage to the queens that came before Stephanie’s Child. Back in the day, shining stars like Joey Arias, Sherry Vine, and Raven-O used Bar d’O as their stomping ground — a smoky, intimate West Village club where you could witness live performance and kick back with an artsy crowd. The Green Room 42, tucked in the back corner of Yotel Times Square doesn’t quite have that underground feel, but with program director Daniel Dunlow at the helm and graffitied banquettes by Gabriel Israel, the venue is slowly making its mark for both established (Mean Girls’ Jennifer Simard just debuted her new show Stigma) and up-and-coming artists.
Stephanie’s Child recently returned to the venue and has been going strong since appearing on last year’s finale on NBC’s The Voice with Jesse J. Their Halloween themed show Heads Will Roll was packed with pop favorites like Brittany Spears’ “Toxic,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and even a sweet musical treat: “Candy Store” from Heathers The Musical.
Costumed in gorgeous Rococo-style overcoats that quickly disappeared to reveal bedazzled corsets in their signature palette of rose, lavender and turquoise, the group bemoaned a major catastrophe when their costume designer went AWOL two days before the performance. But their drag family rallied to create the incredible garments, proving that drag sisters do really watch out for one another.
When not singing, the trio’s comedic bits ranged from biggest fears (clowns, cats and pigs on the ceiling) to favorite Halloween candy (hot tamales and sour patch kids, proven by the COSTCO-size bag they munched on through the entire show). Their impeccable timing — not easy with three big personalities — carried throughout the evening, which left room for improvisation among the spooky-themed banter. This included an audience-by-request segment, where they belted out three-part harmonies of Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, and more. Gratitude (and a few authentic tears) permeated the encore, a gorgeous rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
On the surface, drag may appear to be rhinestones, padding, and face painting, but Stephanie’s Child proves that it’s truly an art form, now rebirthed for a new generation.
Rachel York: Thank You for the Music
November 18, 7 p.m.
Paige Turner: Christmas is a Drag
December 18, 7 p.m.
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