CSU’s ‘Drag! The Musical!’ mixes drag, Broadway, self-expression

Julia Trowbridge

Shea Coulee, of RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine, performs during the spring drag show in the Lory Student Center. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

The largest university drag show in northern Colorado for over 10 years returned this Sunday with a packed ballroom.

This semester’s show was titled “Drag! The Musical!” and hosted by PRISM, a student organization that aims to support and raise awareness of LGBTQ issues. The show had 26 performances, including some from Colorado State University students, from co-hosts Jessica L’Whor and Evelyn Evermoore and from Shea Couleé from season nine of Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

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“It helps to have a themed show each semester and it also really helps to have performers who don’t necessarily give a performance that aligns with the theme,” said Alex Salazar, a senior human development and family studies major who performed in the drag show as Queenie. “It allows for a variety of different performances and, ultimately, it creates a bigger fanbase.”

Some of the CSU students that participated in the show included A Blast from your Angsty Past performing to Panic! at the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” Trina Tucket with Wicked’s “Defying Gravity” and Frankie Venus performing a tribute to Freddy Mercury. Lola Gag, the head director and producer of the show, used her performance to come out as bisexual.

I identify as queer, and identifying as queer really helped me find a place in the community. It was a struggle for me (coming out) because of a lot of invisibility that people feel, and with my gender presentation, queer was just a term that could let me be who I was and not really put too many questions to it.” – Evelyn Evermoore

Throughout the 26 performances, co-hosts L’Whor and Evermoore showed off multiple outfits, encouraged people to vote in local elections and did a Q&A with the audience, discussing topics like being economical with makeup, outreach and relationship advice.

One topic discussed in the Q&A was about the idea of identifying as queer, especially with the term “queer” historically being used as a slur against the LGBTQ community.

Frankie Mars performs during the spring drag show in the Lory Student Center. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

“I identify as queer, and identifying as queer really helped me find a place in the community,” Evermoore said. “It was a struggle for me (coming out) because of a lot of invisibility that people feel, and with my gender presentation, queer was just a term that could let me be who I was and not really put too many questions to it. So queer makes me feel better.”

Auntie Depressant, a co-director of the show who asked that her real name not be published, said she got involved in the show last semester and has put a lot of work into getting the funds to pull off the largest university drag show in northern Colorado.

Auntie Depressant, who performed to Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend,” said that putting on the wig and all the makeup is a confidence booster and makes the experience fun.

“It was a lot of fun and it was really liberating for sure,” Auntie Depressant said. “This drag show is very much when you go there, everybody there is there for the art, there for the culture, there to represent, whether or not they’re directly involved in the community or just to watch a good performance.”

Donations given at “Drag! The Musical” amounted to $1600 and go to the Pride Resource Center‘s Scholarship Fund

Juliana Saludes, a senior clinical counseling psychology major, performed a tribute to Freddy Mercury. Saludes has performed in two drag shows at CSU and said, in addition to the drag show being financially important to the Pride Resource Center, it’s a good way for people who are not in the LGBTQ community to learn more about the community and eliminate prejudice.

“There’s all sorts of research about different people groups interacting, and if you have them interact in a non-confronting space, the prejudice will lower,” Saludes said. “So when we have people who aren’t necessarily part of the LGBTQ community or who don’t know anything about the community coming to a drag show and getting entertainment and education through entertainment, it’s a good way to bring people in carefully and give them an experience that will make them more likely to be more kind and accepting.”

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L’Whor said the beauty of drag is being able to dress and express however a person wants to, whether that’s beautiful, scary or weird and encouraged everyone to consider trying drag themselves.

“I’m a strong believer that everybody in their life, regardless of how they identify and look, where they come from (or) their background, should try and experiment with drag one time,” L’Whor said. “You will find so much about yourself throughout that process. You’re going to learn so much about you.”

Julia Trowbridge can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.