In perhaps the greatest combination since chocolate met peanut butter, some great Denver drag performers are about to take on your favorite fairy tales. When the dust settles, who will be left — and what will be left of them?
Daniella DeCoteau, one of our celebrated Diva Dozen, will be taking over the Avenue Theater like a fairy godmother this Friday and Saturday with two performances of her new show Fairytales & Fantasies. DeCoteau and a bewigged cast including Daphne DeCoteau, Zoe O, Brittany Michaels, Kai Lee Michaels and newcomer Mirage Delamor will twist some beloved stories and add a few surprises to our favorite Disney princesses. “A couple years ago I did a fairy tale-themed show with another troupe that was really successful,” says DeCoteau (while on the phone creating a wig for her Belle tribute). “At first I was opposed, because I thought people wouldn’t get it — but mostly because I wasn’t sure how you could add queens to fairy tales and make them fun and not just copy Into The Woods. Then I realized how you can zing them, add audio from the movies, some modern pop songs that fit in with the characters, and I got really inspired by the whole thing.”
This is drag, though, so don’t expect these queens to play family-friendly or coat things with a spoonful of sugar; this show is definitely R-rated. “Some characters will be sexualized," DeCoteau notes, "and with my mouth I’m curious how often an F bomb will slip out. I told the girls to go as far as they want to be sexy and funny. I sure don’t want people to think that this show is for children.”
Along with the fairy-tale fracturing, this show skips the usual bar trappings of most drag shows and instead will be hitting the boards of the Avenue Theater. “It’s going to be fun to play a different venue," DeCoteau says. "An actual theater space adds its own challenges to a drag show. We’re so used to the bar, but we’re trying to create the same atmosphere in a fixed, seated space. We’ve figured out how to keep that party atmosphere, serve drinks and add a super-theatrical element to the whole thing.”
And that includes special costumes: These performers are hitting the fabric store and sewing machine hard. “I feel like with all of the modern drag we’re missing the theatrics of it all,” says DeCoteau. “I like the more intimate, cabaret style where we create a set and all the girls bring their best costumes and we just have a ball. It’s a nod to the old with a modern twist.”
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So, forbidden takes on age-old characters, with fancy sets, stages, lighting, costumes, wigs and libations available to lubricate the evening? Sounds like an outrageous fairy tale of a good time. With so much source material to take on, which is DeCoteau's favorite tale? “Oh! It’s Snow White," she responds. "it’s the first one I ever discovered as a kid, and the first time I went to Disneyland my one dream was to meet Snow White and I did, and there’s a great photo of me with her looking terrified to meet my fairy-tale icon. She was my introduction to princesses. Every little drag queen lives for these ladies with the outfits and the jewels and the prince waiting to take them away. Some of us don’t have that in real life, so we have to dream it up and be it.”
Fairytales & Fantasies plays at 8 p.m. Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1, at the Avenue Theatre, 417 East 17th Avenue. Tickets are $21.50 but you can get a 20 percent discount with promo code DRAG at checkout on avenuetheater.com.