Since VH1’s Emmy-award winning reality-TV competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has turned households on to the art of drag, female impersonators from all over are now climbing the ladder toward superstar status — with many of them breaking out from their ordinary late-night club routines and pageantry regimen. Now you can find many of the “Drag Race” alums releasing their own Billboard-charting singles, spin-off shows, viral YouTube videos and even headlining national and international tours.
Just in time for the holiday season, “A Drag Queen Christmas” — a 30-date drag all-star tour — has been revived and is now working its way down the roadways of America. It is expected to roll through town this month at the historic 1,800-seat Buckhead Theatre. This time, the tour comes with a bundle of “Drag Race” queens from Season 9 (winner Sasha Velour, Trinity Taylor, Shea Couleé, Farrah Moan, Aja, Eureka O’ Hara) and a fresher, sleeker update. Billed the “Naughty Tour,” there’s enough bait inside this edition to lure the Grinch from out of Mount Crumpit.
Shade for days
For starters, the rounds of saucy reading — one of the key ingredients behind “Drag Race’s” sudden popularity, with roots stemming from the iconic 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning” — is definitely part of the act. Taylor, who now lives infamously in the world of memes for the catch phrase “I call shade” and serves as the daring host, promises to drop nuggets of shady coal into the stockings of those in attendance. “Of course there’ll be shade,” Taylor told Georgia Voice. “You must not have ever seen me host! I’m the shadiest of them all, except for Miss Bianca [Del Rio].”
Devout viewers of the hit TV show will also get a chance to witness Taylor work alongside longtime rival Eureka O’Hara, who left Season 9 early due to a leg injury. Since leaving the show, their relationship has improved and the trading barbs have reduced just a little.
“It’s kind of a love-loathe thing, mostly love these days,” Taylor, a Season 9 finalist, confirmed. “We have learned when to walk away from each other when we have been around too long, but I have so much respect for her.”
“Drag Race: All Stars” Season 3 contender Chi Chi DeVayne and Season 8 finalists Naomi Smalls and Kim Chi are also suiting up for the sleigh ride to Atlanta. “Drag Race” favorite (and Sseason 4’s Miss Congeniality) Latrice Royale will also make a reindeer pit stop here, where her closing performance — a Nutcracker-inspired festival of flag throwing and rifle tossing — ranks as one of the show’s highlights. There’s also a wider selection of holiday favorites showcased with spot-on lip-synching, witty humor and dashing wardrobe showcases. Some performers even spice things up by performing live.
Large crowds throughout tour
Murray & Peter, the brains behind the holiday drag fest, pretty much refrain from the spotlight. However their body of work speaks for itself. In the past, the Detroit-based entertainment booking duo has presented shows featuring top-notch marquee talent including Belinda Carlisle, Margaret Cho, the Naked Magicians and even the late Joan Rivers. Nowadays, their social media handles seem to overrun with outrageously queer-empowering photo and video content of their incredible top-tier drag revues. This year alone, they’ve supervised the laugh factory of “Haters Roast: The Shady Tour” and the “record-breaking” successful “War on the Catwalk,” a gargantuan 37-date roll-out of Season 9 contestants. It’s all about drag for them, hence their acquired business web domain “dragfans.com.”
Taylor, who also hosted “War on the Catwalk,” is enjoying the hosting job, despite the onstage pressures that come with large crowds and being spontaneous.
“It’s a little overwhelming when you think of the size of these theaters and the amount of people,” Taylor said. “I have to keep their attention and not let them become bored. It’s not an easy job especially when my hosting is all off the cuff. But I like a challenge!”
The holiday tour also sashays into a few deep pockets and corners of the Midwest and Southeast (like Durham, North Carolina, and Wichita, Kansas), portions of the U.S. slowly making progress in the area of equal rights for the LGBT community. With the holiday season being an emotional time for a number of queer people, particularly in today’s climate of political unrest and uneasiness, and for those without traditional families to turn to, “A Drag Queen Christmas” promises to make the season bright.
The cast knows a thing or two about how difficult this time of year can be.
“It has many emotions attached [to it],” said Taylor, an Alabama native now residing in sunny Orlando. “I don’t really have blood family near, but I do have chosen family that I will be spending holidays with, as well as my boyfriend Leo.”
The two-hour show includes a 20-minute intermission. $40 general admission tickets are available, as are VIP packages allowing fans the opportunity of earning premium seating, exclusive tour merchandise and top priority for meet-and greets before the show.
“A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour” Sunday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. Buckhead Theatre Tickets: $40-$160 www.ticketmaster.com