By Eric LaRocca | Staff Writer
If you happened to be in White Hall Tuesday night, you might’ve thought a current Top 40 chart-topper was performing to a sold out campus crowd with the resounding chorus of “Yaaass” muffled beneath the throbbing pulse of a gritty dance beat.
And if you weren’t in the Ives Concert Hall, you unfortunately missed out on one of the most fabulous and fun events on campus: the 7th Annual Drag Show presented by WCSU’s Gay Straight Alliance.
Throughout the course of the evening, Queens in leather studded corsets and glittering cat suits sashayed across the Ives Concert Hall stage and down the aisles with attitude while the Kings strutted their stuff and demanded the attention of the young ladies in the audience.
The show was hosted by Summer Orlando, a New Haven performer with the pipes and enough theatricality to sell out a Broadway house. Orlando graced the enthusiastic WestConn crowd with an array of spectacular costume changes and witty stage banter that had the audience and the judge table grinning ear to ear. While Orlando’s talent as an emcee was undeniable with her poised charisma and natural ability to command a crowd, her true gift was showcased at the top of Act 2 when she wowed the audience with a live rendition from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Orlando, however, was not the only standout among the Queens. Casey Fitzpatrick, another professional Queen hailing from New Haven, served some serious attitude with her performance of Iggy Azalea’s “Change Your Life.” Lucia Virginity and Tiana Maxim Rose were other honorable mentions who deserve praise after delivering unforgettable performances. Sylvia Heart’s “Sex and the City Mix,” which incorporated audio elements from the famous TV show and current dance-pop hits like Marina and the Diamonds’ “Primadonna,” was a definite audience favorite. In a skin-tight pink cat suit and a platinum blonde wig, Heart demanded the crowd’s affection and attention as she glided up and down aisles with an unmatched gracefulness.
Although many of the Kings lacked the frenetic intensity of the Queens’ performances, their sharp looks and laidback moves to current and classic radio hits were nonetheless entertaining. The standout of the evening was certainly Jason Carz’s performance of “Check Yes Juliet” by We the Kings. Carz lip-synced to the classic pop punk song while sprinting up and down the aisles and cheekily flirting with the young ladies sitting in the audience.
One of the most unforgettable moments of the evening, however, was not a brassy and showy musical number. After addressing the support of her parents sitting out in the crowd, young Gloria Floria’s heartbreaking acoustic rendition of Joanie Mitchell’s “All I Want” left the crowd with open mouths and wet eyes. Although it was undoubtedly the quietest moment of the evening, the audience erupted with cheers at the end of her stripped down performance and some even praised her with a standing ovation.
The evening closed with Queens Sylvia Heart, Casey Fitzpatrick, and Tiana Maxim Rose teaming up to slay the crowd with a rendition of “Bang Bang.” Audience members tipped generously as the Queens glided up and down the aisles and threw out party favors like glow-in-the-dark bracelets and, yes, condoms.
Gloria Floria’s win as Best Student Act was more than well-deserved. Her trembling “thank you” to her parents was heart-warming and then was quickly followed with chuckles as she thanked Satan. The Best Professional Act was claimed by Tiana Maxim Rose, and was followed with a sincerely grateful acceptance speech from the fabulous performer.
All of the donations received by the WCSU’s Gay Straight Alliance went to benefit the Triangle Community Center, a nonprofit organization in Fairfield County providing resources for the local LGBTQ community. While it was of course fun to watch the Kings and Queens work the crowd, possibly the best part of the evening was contributing to a very worthwhile cause.