Move over “Toddlers and Tiaras,” there is a new “Pageant” in town! Currently on stage at City Theatre is “Pageant the Musical” Directed by Jim Lindsey. Lindsey has a real knack for directing fun campy comedies, he recently directed an award winning production of “The Rocky Horror Show” and has gone back to the basics of comedy gold with Pageant. The show is a spoof on beauty pageants everywhere, except all of the contestants are MEN! No the show is not about a drag beauty pageant; it is about a real beauty pageant with real natural born women…. who just happen to be played by men. The opening number “We’re Natural Born Women” clears it all up real quick. This show is too funny to miss the whole cast is superb, and the direction is top notch.
The contestants of this pageant are from all over the country and their characters are truly
reminiscent of their regions culture… my personal favorites were Miss Texas- Kitty Bob Ames played by the always fabulous Kirk Kelso. Kelso can do no wrong, and his classic beauty pageant walk, nod, and smile are perfect for Miss Texas. Kelso steals the show! Then there is Miss Great Plains – Bonnie Louise Cutlett who is every sense of the words “great plain” Michael Wheeler who plays Miss Great Plains is great at making the most of being plain! His wide eyed and scared Miss Great Plains is a laugh riot. Some of his best work in the show is when he has no lines at all. The third stand out in my opinion was Miss West Coast – Karma Quinn brought to the stage by Boyce Templin. Templin is the epitome of “Valley Girl” his performance as a vapid and truly blonde beauty queen is everything! My favorite part of the whole night was watching Templin perform the talent category with an interpretive dance through the seven stages of life of someone who believes in reincarnation. The nod to Martha Graham is a nice touch by Director Jim Lindsey and Choreographer Laura Lund!
There were a few things that needed to be further thought through, the set design by Andy Berkovsky is perfect and pink. It is what everyone thinks of when they hear the words beauty pageant. However, the curved curtained area at the top of the set make a great first impression and works well for a big reveal at the beginning, towards the end of the first act it becomes a distraction. It does not like to move smoothly and often looks awkward and troublesome from the audience. But in the end this is not enough to take much away from the production.
If you like laughing and beauty, then you need to get down to the City theatre and see Pageant! This show is so funny and a ton of fun wrapped up with a pretty pink bow! These girls are the best! One final parting comment, Miss Texas was robbed the night I saw the show! Oh yeah… did I mention the audience gets to pick the winner each night?
Pageant runs through June 19,2016 for more information log on to http://www.citytheatreaustin.org