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REVIEW: "BROADWAY DIVAS TAKE HOLLYWOOD" — Samueli Theater @ Segerstrom Center for the Arts

"...Altogether a blast, fueled by fantasy and glamour — a fabulous tonic for a Sunday afternoon..."


Today, everyone’s favorite Off-Broadway drag star and her dazzling show-stopping cast dusted off their feather boas and brought the Great White Way and Tinseltown directly to Southern California for an afternoon of some of the biggest hits in the entertainment world.

That’s right! Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ very own Broadway Divas returned to the beautiful Samueli Theater Sunday afternoon in a brand-new Hollywood themed drag brunch, bringing everyone’s favorite movies and Broadway musicals to life. The audience was laughing, screaming and smiling in delight as Miss Clair Voyance and her cast provided all the glitz, glamour, and technicolor from the silver screen for almost three full hours. Most exciting was the “Hairspray” medley at the show’s end, which was worth the price of admission itself.

Featuring timeless hits of classics like “The Little Mermaid,” “The Greatest Showman,” “Mommie Dearest,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Grease,” “Enchanted” and “Harry Potter” (to name a few), along with favorite characters from “The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Into the Woods,” “Suicide Squad,” and many more, some of Southern California’s greatest drag entertainers wowed a spellbound audience with their unique performance art, inspired by the grand dames of old Hollywood to the biggest divas on the Broadway stage.

The all-star ensemble of queens included: Miss Clair Voyance, Leeko Rae, April Showers, Zai, Mama St. Merman, Big Dee, & the Broadway Diva Dancers.

All floor seating included a deliciously catered brunch for those with an appetite, but, even if you were in the loft, every ticket came with a complimentary glass of champagne (21+). And if you’re talking surprises, delights and plenty of 11 o’clock numbers that’ll leave you screaming “Encore!” there really was no bad table in the house.

Hosted by Orange County-based Miss Clair Voyance, who has a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater, Voyance has been a veteran entertainer at the Segerstrom for a number of years already, most recently doing shows alongside their annual “Rocky Horror Picture Show” Halloween screening. Her first entrance hoisted the show up, in a legitimate drag persona that was intrinsically instrumental to the cohesiveness of the entire cast, followed immediately by a very wonderful segment of “The Little Mermaid,” starring Leeko Rae.

Miss Voyance has performed memorably as Elphaba from “Wicked” and Elsa from “Frozen” and was also featured in Rolling Stone for her role as Winifred Sanderson in her renowned “Hocus Pocus” drag show.

An avid entertainer and an award-winning stage actor while studying at the Academy for the Performing arts, Voyance did a college production of “La Cage aux Folles,” the Jean Poiret play which was eventually adapted into the film “The Birdcage,” and went into drag for the first time – a defining moment when she knew this was to be her life’s quest.

The creative fashion of drag on this show is simply amazing. The costumes were appropriately ornate, elegant and ravishing and cleverly resemble the same dresses worn in the movies or theatrical shows. These queens are phenomenal in their craft, most often tailoring their own costumes, and they left the audience in awe of their genius artistry on so many levels.

The performances were altogether a blast, fueled by fantasy and glamour - a fabulous tonic for a Sunday afternoon, and just the jolt of energy and engagement we needed to offset the impending damper coming in hours later with Hurricane Hillary.

If this group’s objective was to perfectly blend the rowdy fun of a drag performance with the polished veneer of a Broadway cabaret, they hit the ball out of the park. It was a revue elevated with synchronized video projections, pristinely-timed punchlines, and innovative novelty routines – a show not only rife with genuine heart, but infused with warm campy fun.

Dynamite numbers for each of the drag queens’ sets gave ample opportunity to showcase their individual talents, while performing both hit songs and showtunes in perfect pantomime. Every gag, every cross of the stage was oozing with star quality that made Broadway Divas a show that will be remembered for days to come.

Chris Daniels

Arts & Entertainment Reviewer

The Show Report


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