Nightlife » Local Events

So You Think You Can Drag? Prove It!

by JC Alvarez
Thursday Sep 27, 2012

Thanks to a little help from a late 20th century pop-icon, RuPaul has been at the millennial renaissance of drag. Weaving its way out of the underground cabaret subculture of the urban metropolis and right into the center spotlight of the weekend club scene, this art form has been elevated to new heights of entertainment.

Every Wednesday night at the Time Out Lounge, inside the New World Stages on 50th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen, showbiz spitfire Paige Turner tests the tucking, and immaculately made-up metal of some of the city's most aspiring new drag talents and the eager stars of tomorrow with her successful competition series "So You Think You Can Drag" - and it's live!

Having solidified her nightlife notoriety, Paige Turner, who also is featured every Sunday night on the east side staple Vlada Bar, is able to camp it up, ruling over a dynamically diverse audience that includes everyone from HK locals, to Broadway babies, to West Village hipsters and the East Side's most chic twinks. It's now in its third season at New World Stages with no lack of colorful contestants competing for a drag queen's dream: the opportunity to headline a show all of her own.

Tomorrow’s Legends Today

Nightlife impresario Justin Luke (the Glammy Award nominee behind the popular events) co-produces the evening and co-hosts as SYTYCD’s sitting judge. "Paige and I love each other," Luke says about teaming with Paige Turner. "It was a forgone conclusion that this would inevitably happen." What are the qualities that he’s looking for in tomorrow’s drag legends? "I’m looking for talent, professionalism and responsibility - and energy. Someone who has the flexibility to come in and do the best show that they can.

Every week contestants must perform their hearts out to a specific theme chosen by Paige Turner to ascertain the queen’s ability to be original and have a unique performance style, but it also gives Paige the opportunity to show these ingénue upstarts how it’s done. This week, Paige and her team of chorus boys belted out a Broadway standard, and last week time-warped the ladies back to the big hair of the 90’s.

Next week will be an entirely new theme...leaving fans in wild anticipation. Even the winners don’t know what to expect as they move up the ladder closer to victory.

A season of ’So You Think You Can Drag" averages 7 weeks. Nearing its climax the competition becomes mighty fierce - as well it should. The outcome could well make or break an aspiring diva’s place in New York City club culture. The judge’s table helmed by Justin Luke can be counted on to give the contestants their toughest critics. No doubt Luke is looking for the next big thing. I have one thing to say...FiFi DuBois!

That Extra Something...

As the celebrity judge’s roll in weekly to spice up the dynamic at the table, past guests have included "Drag Race’s" Mike Ruiz, and "Here TV’s" Josh Rosenzweig. Cabaret veteran Ben Cameron and pop-singer Colton Ford presided over Broadway Week. While Cameron was content with the queen’s ability to provide a "full arc" of a performance, Ford thanked God for creating homosexuals. So impressed by the queen’s acts, the heartthrob exclaimed, "Without us...there would be no creativity on this planet!"

Come out next Wed night at 10:30pm (the contest is now entering the halfway mark of the season) to the New World Stages and root for your favorite queen to win the coveted title and star in her own show at the Time Out Lounge. Paige Turner holds court alongside Justin Luke and you never know which famous name will be sitting in as a guest judge.

Playing to an occasional ’standing room only’ house, some of the city’s most entertaining Off-Broadway offerings are showcased at New World Stages. Literally right off the main drag of Broadway’s Theater Row the former multiplex theater, converted into compartmentalized and versatile sound stage, is also where you’ll find the entertainment hub the Time Out Lounge.

Follow the show on Facebook.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


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