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Magic in Montrose: The Broad’s Way

One of the most underrated drag/live singing performances in Montrose is at Michael’s Outpost every Monday night.

(HOUSTON) — After leaving an event last night, I went out into Montrose waiting for something to happen. I wasn’t sure what it was I was waiting for; but I knew that if I could be patient, it would manifest. Was it that I was going to meet a man? Would I run into some old friends I hadn’t seen in years? Or was it just that I might get drunk and find myself having a good time amongst strangers? I couldn’t ascertain the specifics of this premonition, but I knew that if I could wait it out, something magical would happen.

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Regina Blake-DuBois

So, I made my rounds. I started first at Guava Lamp, where I had one drink and chatted with a few friends. Fun, but nothing particularly magical about it. I jumped over to Ripcord, where—as per the usual—the Monday night crowd was light and quiet (just the way I preferred my bar scenes). I had another drink there before deciding I was barking up the wrong tree. Nothing unusual was taking place in Montrose proper; and I therefore forged my way toward Richmond for a glass of Cab at Michael’s Outpost.

And that’s where it happened. It was there that I found myself sitting in a half-full bar where before me stood a trope of entertainers performing songs from some of Broadway’s seminal hits throughout the recent decades.

Be still my beating, gay boy heart.

Hosting The Broad’s Way was the lovely Regina Blake-DuBois, a drag queen I’d seen perform a handful of times and whose performances I’ve always enjoyed. Rolling out the remainder of the cast was singer Scott Lupton, drag king Richard Long, songstress Chaney Moore, and queen Mia Opulent Love, each performing showtunes from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.

Let me just interrupt myself to say that while, yes, this is a drag show, it isn’t just a drag show. It’s actually the only show in Houston that incorporates drag queens, kings, and live singers. And when those performers and doing the best of Broadway, there’s nothing more that a theatre-geek gay boy who has seen Wicked onstage nine times like myself could ask for. (Pause to add that I was disappointed I didn’t catch Regina on one of her Wicked performance days, as she states they are frequent).

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Chaney Moore

I entered late in the show, with Blake-Dubois entertaining her group that seemed to consist of many regulars. Her hosting style is on-point: she’s funny … but doesn’t mind roasting herself when a joke falls flat or a line doesn’t quite work. And she knows how to keep the audience paying attention (even if that means jokingly reminding them that her phone number is carved into the wall of a bathroom stall). What’s best about her as a hostess, however, is that she really knows her shit. Blake-DuBois’s own theatre nerdiness packs into each joke that she tells the audience.

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Richard Long

Now, to say that I almost lost my shit more than once last night would be a bit of an understatement. After all, when Chaney Moore (who last night joined the show as a regular performer) pulled out a show-stopping rendition of “Living in Hell” from Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens, I was done. TAKE MY MONEY! Granted, I only had three one-dollar bills on me, so I had to make sure they lasted (they did not). Her voice is so clean and smooth. The way she jumps into her upper-register sounds effortless, only to come back down and belt out a note bigger than the bar itself. I was certain that none of the other performers would be able to follow her up. Then came the glitter-beard king, Richard Long, with his comedic take on “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Miserables. Who knew that Enjolras could make me laugh with a song of revolution in 19th century France?

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Scott Lupton

Of course, I would be remiss if not to mention Scott Lupton’s rendition of “We Beseech Thee” from Godspell. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting when Lupton took the microphone, but as someone who was previously unfamiliar with his powerhouse voice, I was completely blown away. A song that is often sang with breathy haste was well-paced, lively, interactive, and downright extraordinary. Even when it came time for the key change (which Lupton funnily made sure to mention to the viewers), the entire song was flawless. As for Mia Opulent Love, the queen in her beautiful green wig danced away to a number from Sweet Charity (a favorite show of mine), which she took the liberty of not only making into a fun, vibrant performance, but one that was tinged with just a bit of her trademark sexiness that she brings to every performance.

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Mia Opulent Love

And as the show was winding down, Ms. Blake-DuBois had taken to the back to change (as Love took the mic and regaled us with improptu stories of how someone had asked her if her green hair was natural). When she returned, she donned an effervescent pink coat and knee-high red boots. I knew then, for certain, she could only be bringing to life one of two characters—Glinda the Good of Wicked, or Elle Woods of Legally Blonde. Whether she’d be tackling “Popular,” “Positive,” or any of the other numbers from either musical, I’d be pleased.

Alas, she made a point of mentioning she would not be performing from Wicked, but that she’d be doing a number that was, in her words, “a little more legal.”

Thus came her finale performance of “So Much Better” from Legally Blonde: The Musical, which opened on Broadway in 2007 scoring seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Original Score of a Musical, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress for Bundy as Elle Woods. The show would go on to tape a live performance for MTV, host a reality show in which actresses competed to be the next Elle Woods, and has seen international productions and tours.

lb Magic in Montrose: The Broad's WayIt was also the very first musical I ever saw live right here in Houston when the first national tour came through the Hobby Center stage, brought to us by Theatre Under the Stars. That year (2009), the lead actress, Becky Gulsvig, had broken her toe while on tour, and Broadway’s leading lady, Laura Bell Bundy, had stepped in to fill her shoes. It’s one of my best memories and the musical holds a very special place in my heart. So, when Regina Blake-DuBois took on the task of lip-syncing and dancing the choreography to “So Much Better” (the act one showstopper that is considerably one of the hardest numbers in Broadway history to sing, right up there with “Defying Gravity”) I knew I’d found my Montrose magic. Hell, she even demonstrated the difficult Elle Woods high-kick at the end of the song (which once ended in Bundy launching her shoe into the audience). And, as luck would have it, I’d run out of ones at that point.

What got me about this production was that, while there was a good number of people there to see it, Michael’s Outpost wasn’t quite as full as I’ve seen it for its many other wonderful shows. From Eye-Cons to Cabernet at the Cabaret, Michael’s is usually good about packing out its seats for performances. Maybe it’s just the luck of having a Monday night show, or maybe the night was just slower than usual. Either way, everyone in the neighborhood that loves the theatre (and I do believe that accounts for a large demographic of LGBTQIA people) should make the time to head to Michael’s Outpost to catch this incredible cast put on one helluva show. With a new Broadway-centric theme each week, Regina and her chorus of talented entertainers put on a fun, audience-interactive show that brings the Broadway stage right into Michael’s Outpost every Monday night. And no matter when you make it out there to see it, The Broad’s Way is certain to never disappoint.

Michael’s Outpost is located at 1419 Richmond Ave. and is open 7 days a week with shows (some drag and some live piano) every night.

Jay Adcock and The Laramie Project

Director Jay Adcock talks to About Magazine about his upcoming production of The Laramie Project, set to hit the Brazosport College stage this April.

1254_Laramie-Project155658_595_-226x300 Jay Adcock and The Laramie ProjectIn 1998, Matthew Shepard (a gay student at the university of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming) was beaten and left for dead in Laramie in what would become one of the most well-known LGBTQ hate crimes ever covered by the media. Matthew was taken to a hospital alive, but died six days later due to severe brain injuries given to him by assailants Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Matthew’s death led to a spark of coverage worldwide, and both the community and the media had varying opinions on what the root cause of it may have been. While it is agreed upon near-universally that Matthew’s sexual orientation was a key factor in his murder, reactions to this tragedy have always been mixed. The Westboro Baptist Church even showed up to protest Shepard’s funeral. Nevertheless, the story also inspired people to take action to stand up against homophobia and crimes of hate.

In February of 2000, Moisés Kaufman and members of the Techtonic Theater Project premiered The Laramie Project, play written by them that took interviews of various members of the community, as well as journal entries and statements, to create this three-act series of scenes that explores the reaction to Shepard’s 1998 murder in Laramie, Wyoming.

Now, in 2018, Lake Jackson performer and director Jay Adcock is stepping up to the plate to bring the show to life at Brazosport College. In this production, Adcock hopes to put a spin on the show that will be uniquely his own, as well as to include the college’s LGBTQ-Straight Alliance in a particular scene. Adcock took the time to chat with About Magazine to discuss how this show came to him, his life in community theatre, and his thoughts on LGBTQIA life in the Trump administration.

Why don’t you tell me how this show fell into your lap?

I do a lot of community theatre. And, you know when the Pulse shooting happened? That affected me a lot more than I realized. It really got to me and I wanted to do something. And I’ve been acting in community theatre here where I live and have been testing the waters of directing. I’ve assistant directed and have directed a couple of one acts. So, I went to the college professor and told him I’d like to direct a show, because they have spots for guest directors each season. And when it was my turn and I was looking at shows to do, like I said, the Pulse shooting had really affected me personally. So, I saw the movie adaptation of this play and bought the script of the play online. So, I decided to do an unofficial survey with all my friends to see if anyone knew who Matthew Shepard was. I’m 47, and I knew who he was, as did my generation of gay friends. But the younger ones at the college and the community theatre did not know who he was. And that really bothered me. So, I thought that, This is a perfect time. Especially with the political climate being what it is now, I thought this would be the perfect show to do at this time. And with it being my first show, it’s a small cast and small set, and I thought that I could do it. And it really means something to me.

When you brought up Pulse, you said that this story is so relevant and that you were very affected by it. What’s your relationship with LGBTQ community?

13490878_1252702638103720_6817286160917849978_o-300x300 Jay Adcock and The Laramie ProjectTo be very truthful, this is only my third year of being out. So, when I started living my life truthfully, my whole life changed. I came out in December of 2014, and in June of 2015, we got same-sex marriage legalized nationally. And then right after that, the Pulse shooting happened. So, I was trying to tell my friends who sort of said, “Yeah, this is a horrible thing,” that I live in southern Brazoria County, a very country-ish community; and while the Pulse massacre may have been an extreme case, I live with this fear every day. When I go out to the clubs and I walk to my car dressed to go out and find that someone is walking behind, I have to be aware. I have to wonder whether this is the night I’m going to get beat up. The Pulse massacre brought attention to this, but we have to live with this sort of fear every day. I don’t let it stop me, of course. But hopefully if we learned anything from that tragedy, it’s that this fear is still real and that gay people still live with this every day.

With this administration, and you came out at the tail-end of the Obama administration, has your insecurity increased since Trump took office?

I don’t know if insecurity is the right word. But I do have a heightened sense of awareness. My feeling of rights being taken away is always at the forefront of my mind.

We had 28 trans murders in 2017, and just into 2018, we’ve already seen trans people getting murdered. And with examples like the story behind The Laramie Project and like Pulse, do you think that we’re at a stronger chance for these sort of hate crimes to perpetuate?

Oh, yes. I definitely think so.

To have the opportunity to bring this show to life in community theatre in such a conservative area is great. Have you gotten any negative feedback? Are you afraid of backlash?

No, I haven’t really had any of that yet. I’m sort of hoping that because not many people really know what it is, that they’ll come and see the show and hopefully they’ll take something positive away from it and have a better understanding of this story. I don’t think that we’ll have any backlash or protestors or anything. Everyone has been very supportive so far.

The people that you’re going to get to work with on this project are going to get to carry this memory with them for a long time because The Laramie Project is such a powerful show regardless of where they go with their careers. Does that make you nervous?

It is a powerful show. I’m lucky enough that I’ve not seen any live productions of the show so far. I do love the movie. And it’s not so much that I’m worried about living up to any past productions, I am just so worried about my production, and I just want it to be good. I’m not going to compare it to any other productions. I just want mine to be good. I want it to reach people. I want to touch people. That’s the only thing I’m worried about. I’m not worried about living up to past productions.

Each cast and production brings something new to a show that may have been done a thousand times.

22195341_1945150795525564_5903683640674882301_n-1-298x300 Jay Adcock and The Laramie ProjectAnd to take it even further, every night brings something new. I love theatre stories. I have a few of my own that are like, “Omigod!” I was in The Threepenny Opera. And there is a moment where I was supposed to give a toast […] but I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do. All the actors were like looking at me. And almost telepathically I was telling them, “I know it’s my line! I don’t know what you want me to do! I can’t remember.” So, I kept rearranging every dish and bottle on this banquet table in the scene. And finally one of the other actors looked at me and said, “Well, how about a toast!” And finally I yelled, “Yes! A toast!” and I got right back into the scene. It just felt like twelve hours of me rearranging a table trying to remember a line, even if it was only thirty seconds.

Auditions for The Laramie Project will be held Sunday, February 25th at Brazosport College at 2 PM, as well as on the 26th & 27th at 7 PM in the Seidule Drama Theatre (G-116).

The show runs from April 19th through the 21st, as well as the 25th through the 28th. For reservations, please call: (979) 230-3271

About Greenlights Three TV Shows

How to Break My Neck Lifelong Learning The Anthony Project TV Shows About

About Media greenlights The Anthony Project, How to Break My Neck, and Lifelong Learning

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Anthony Ramirez will write the three adaptations.

(HOUSTON) – About Media (the production company/sister-business of About Magazine) has ordered scripts for three original, scripted series to be streamed exclusively through About. Of the three, one is an original comedy written by About editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez, entitled The Anthony Project. The latter two are adaptations of books published by About’s publishing company, About Editions. The first is an adaptation of Jessica L. Walsh’s How to Break My Neck, and the second being an adaptation of Zeke Jarvis’s forthcoming book, Lifelong Learning.

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Co-writer Rebekah Knight

The Anthony Project follows a gay writer who all in one week loses his grandmother to renal failure, finds out his boyfriend is cheating on him with a woman, and must take over a magazine after his boss abandons ship. Set in Houston, the series revolves around a fictional Ramirez and his group of eccentric friends as they navigate their love lives, trite homophobia, depression, substance abuse, and alcoholism. All the while, Ramirez must come to learn that no matter how badly he may want to, he can’t fix everyone’s problems … especially when he has so many of his own to work on. The series was created by Ramirez and is being penned in conjunction with Rebekah Knight and Kimberly Dyan. An open casting call is underway for roles on The Anthony Project, with city-wide auditions taking place Saturday, May 5th, at the Montrose Center in Houston beginning at noon.

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Jessica L. Walsh

How to Break My Neck is an adaptation of Jessica L. Walsh’s collection of poetry of the same name. The series invites us into the life of Jessica “J” Cato, a poet with the ability to see people’s pasts when they are near. However, when J denounces her gift, she finds herself with a sever bout of writer’s block, realizing all the poetry she’s ever written was inspired by the lives of women she’s met and clairvoyantly come to know. But what’s more is the discovery that her poems, when read aloud, have the ability to affect change. The series will be written by Anthony Ramirez & Anthony Project co-writer, Rebekah Knight.

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Zeke Jarvis

Lifelong Learning is an adaptation of Zeke Jarvis’s forthcoming collection of short stories of the same name. The series exists in a world of strange rules: when a relative dies, you must cook and eat their remains; teenagers of impoverished families may commit suicide on camera to earn extra income for their families; blood sacrifices must be made to appease the Darkness; and when the Overlord says something, it is law. But the question remains: why are the rules in place? And who made them so? Following the lives several strangers as they navigate through the rules of their post-apocalyptic world, Lifelong Learning postulates questions about life, death, Heaven, Hell, God, Satan, and how society can fall into a world where nothing really makes any sense. The series will also be written by Ramirez.

The Anthony Project is slated to premier on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. Learning and Neck have not yet set premiere dates, but are anticipated for early 2019.

RuPaul’s Werq the World Tour Lands in Houston

RuPaul's Werq the World Tour Houston Jones Hall Drag JR's

The event will be held at Jones Hall tonight at 8 PM with a queen-filled after-party at JR’s

(HOUSTON) Tonight is the night that the lovely queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race will stop on their Werq the World tour tonight at Jones Hall. The show, which begins at 8 PM, features performances by RuPaul favorites,Detox, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Peppermint, Shangela, Valentina and Violet Chachki. This is the second time a set of RuPaul queens has dropped by Houston since Hurricane Harvey, with the AAA Girls (Courtney Act, Alaska Thunderfuck, and Willam) having played Fitzgerald’s in the fall of last year.

In related news, owner of JR’s Bar and Grill in Montrose, Charles Armstrong, has released a statement that the queens themselves will be dropping by JR’s tonight.

Valentina will perform on the JR’s stage tonight following the RuPaul’s show at Jones Hall. Most of the queens will pop into JR’s tonight for the Official After-Party. Don’t miss this epic party. As always, never a cover.

-Charles Armstrong

About Magazine’s entertainment correspondent, Morena Roas, will be covering the event. About has also secured an interview with drag favorite Latrice Royale that will be available in the coming days. You can get your tickets to the event here.