Dragtastic! Stephanie's Child - Single Ladies

by Michael Barbieri
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Anyone familiar with drag performers knows about the art of lip sync - miming to recordings to create the illusion of singing.

There are, however, a great many drag queens who sing using their own voices: Ruby Rims, Steven Brinberg (Simply Barbra), Rick Skye (Liza Minnelli), Varla Jean Merman, and Jimmy James, to name a few.

Well, to this list of singing queens, you can add Lagoona Blue, Jan Sport, and Rosé known collectively as Stephanie’s Child!

On Valentine’s Day, I caught Single Ladies, the first official concert of Stephanie’s Child’s residency at The Green Room 42, and word was out on these girls, obviously, because the place was absolutely packed!  

Entering through the house in a “solemn” processional, they hit the stage and immediately got the crowd revved up with a Destiny’s Child/Beyoncé medley that included “Independent Women’” and of course, “Single Ladies.”  Needless to say, they looked gorgeous, in custom red couture - form-fitting, beaded, sequined, and fringed for the gods, each in a different colored wig - blue for Lagoona, pink for Rosé, and lavender for Jan.  The thing that impressed me most, however, was the superb quality of their vocals, their complex harmonies, and their spot on execution of Beyoncé’s now iconic choreography.  I don’t mean to throw shade at Beyoncé, but I don’t think even she could do all that when performing live.  As a matter of fact, due to the rigors of the dancing, I’d imagine Queen Bey probably lip syncs that song herself!

After that amazing opening and a self-effacing quip about 3 white people trying to do the Single Ladies dance, we got to meet the girls.  They introduced themselves, and Rosé even mentioned that her parents were in the audience!  She said, “It’s their first time in New York and I’m up here dressed as a woman!”  Welcome to the big city!

Lagoona showed off a stunning vocal belt with the evening’s first solo, Taylor Swift's "Blank Space,"  after which the girls teamed up again for Christina Aguilera’s “Come on Over Baby,” once again displaying their talent for close harmony.  

After a parody of “I Will Follow Him,” featuring hilariously vulgar lyrics like ‘I will swallow him, I will swallow every single load,’ and ‘...nothing can keep me away, away from his cock,’ Jan told us of her high school obsession with Lady Gaga, then knocked us out with her solo version of “You and I!”  Definitely a showstopper among showstoppers!  “Fever,” the iconic Peggy Lee hit, got the Stephanie’s Child treatment with more gorgeous harmonies on the chorus, and Rosé scatting an amazing vocal run at the end.

Now, while the moments of patter and comedy between numbers were frenetic and somewhat disorganized - even they said that they “just fuck around” between songs - it all worked because of their onstage charm.  But despite the craziness of those moments, these girls were definitely solid, musically!  This was shown beautifully, when they played a game, much like Stump the Band on the old Johnny Carson show - suggestions were thrown out by the audience, and the girls fielded them like champs, improvising bits of Ariana Grande’s “Into You,” Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” from Grease, and Britney Spears’ “Slave!”  Supported and assisted by their excellent band, led by Musical Director Daniel Dunlow, they created harmonies and arrangements on the spot, making this one of the most fun moments of the evening!

The final solo spot of the night went to Rosé, who told a true story of a love gone wrong and the heartbreak she suffered, then tore our hearts out with Adele’s “Someone Like You.”  Of course, much of this show had been comedic in tone, but this was something beyond!  Rosé did more than just sing the song - she LIVED it!  It was some of the best acting I’ve ever seen on a cabaret stage, and the audience cheered through their tears, giving her a standing ovation at the end of the number!

As the show drew to a close, the girls gave us a little insight into what made their show so appealing.  First of all, they OWNED their drag!  They made no pretense of being female, they were just reveling in the art of drag!  Secondly, they are truly each others’ best friends.  They all love to sing and when they can sing such wonderful material with good friends, that love is felt by the audience, which made for a spectacular night of entertainment!

The girls closed the show by inviting up their friend Mykal Kilgore, and together they absolutely SLAYED the Whitney Houston arrangement of “I Will Always Love You,” with Kilgore’s stunning high tenor voice raising the roof at The Green Room 42 - a phenomenal ending to one of the best drag shows I’ve ever seen, and I daresay one of the best cabaret shows I’ve seen in my more than 20 years in the business!

Stephanie’s Child will return to The Green Room 42 on Saturday, April 21st, with their Spring Fling, a collection of songs made famous by your favorite girl groups, so walk, run, hop, skip or DRAG yourself to see America’s Premiere Drag Pop Vocal Trio!  

For more information, go to www.thegreenroom42.com or to purchase tickets go to www.stephanieschild.eventbrite.com