Cuauhtémoc Kish | Downtown News
Sometimes boys just want to be girls. That seems the case with Coronado Playhouse’s latest musical romp called “Pageant.”
This fast-paced 1991 off-Broadway show by Bill Russell and Frank Kelly informs the audience about the crazy competitiveness that’s at the heart of all beauty pageants. But this local production has an obvious gender twist; all of the contestants in this competition are men in delightful drag.
The director of the show, Jennie Gray Connard, not only directs six wanna-be contestants and an emcee; she manages to serve up some inventive choreography as well.
Frankie Cavalier, played by Barron Henzel, is the show’s master of ceremonies. He ushers the contestants around the stage at an even pace so we can clearly determine who deserves to wear the crown of “Miss Glamouresse.”
The competitive categories remain, more or less, the same: swimsuit, evening ensemble and, of course, talent. One additional assignment for these beauties is that they must act as spokesperson for the “Glamouresse” beauty product sponsor. Additionally, they must answer a call on the Beauty Crisis Hotline.
Manny Bejarano takes on the role of Miss Industrial Northeast, demonstrating some fierce accordion playing, all the while, doing a slow roller skate across the stage. Frank Remiatte plays Miss Bible Belt with a preacher’s bombast and then demurely demonstrates the multiple benefits of smooth-as-marble facial spackle.
Galvan (complete name) does interesting work as Miss West Coast, climbing out from an amniotic sack as his/her part of an interpretive dance. Sean Paul Boyd is Miss Great Plains and extolls the benefits of her Marshmallow Fluff. Brian P. Evans takes on Miss Texas with a tap dance and some clever whip-crackling tricks. Miss Deep South is played by Trevor Peringer, who sings while handling duties as a puppeteer.
If you want to be part of the judging panel, just plop down some extra cash and you’ll be given a voting ballot.
Pam Stompoly-Ericson should be applauded for her costume designs; it’s not easy to dress up men and make them look like a presentable pageant contestant.
Sean LaPerruque’s four-member band did a fine job accompanying the contestants on their talent portion of the show as well as underscoring their unique Glamouresse presentations.
In the end, it’s all whistles, laughs, and a bit of unabashed astonishment.
Pageant plays Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., through May 13, at the Coronado Playhouse, located at 1835 Strand Way. For more information or tickets, call 619-435-4856 or visit coronadoplayhouse.com.
Cuauhtémoc Kish is a freelance writer and fiber artist who has written about the theater for many years. He can be reached at email@example.com.