So You Think You Can Drag? Auditions This Weekend for March Drag Show at The Lyric
Because of the snow storm in Casper, auditions for 'So You Think You Can Drag' have been postponed to Wednesday, February 1 from 7pm-9pm at The Lyric.
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So you think you can drag? Well, now's your chance to prove it and, in doing so, you may just earn yourself a shot in the spotlight.
The Lyric is hosting auditions for a drag show happening in March. It will be produced by the Haus of Carfire and House of abAstris, two performers who are legendary drag queens in their own right.
"Casper has a really nice Pride organization in Wyoming, and the Pride movement is growing really strongly in Wyoming," said James Stress, who performs as Diana Carfire on stage. "My friend Andrea and I have done drag shows for Pride the last two years and we've developed a few shows outside of Pride that we've done with Opera Wyoming and the Keyhole Peep Show. We noticed that there were a few other drag troupes around the state of Wyoming that were doing shows in their local venues and bars, but, there were no organized troupes, organized houses of drag that would bring in the [newbies], to teach them and help them hone their performance skills and have a group of people to put on shows with."
So, Stress said, they came up with a plan to offer a workshop to anybody who wanted to hone their skills and learn how to be even better at drag performing.
"That's what we did last week," Stress stated. "We had a few people show up and we worked with them on their numbers and their pieces and their concerns and they actually got to talk to us, because they were very new to the performance scene, as far as drag is concerned. So we helped them and answered some questions."
That was last weekend. This weekend, the two drag performers are hosting auditions for a show that will happen in the spring. And it's not just for drag performers, either.
"This Saturday at 4:00 p.m., everybody interested in auditioning for our troupe, the Haus of Carfire and the Haus of abAstris can come and show us what you've got," Stress said. "They can come and audition for us at The Lyric and we're actually inviting everybody, of all talents, to come show us what they've got. They don't have to be drag performers. We're looking for anybody of any ilk that wants to come perform with us."
Stress said that part of the reason he and his partner wanted to create a Casper troupe is so that they can keep the money in the community, instead of offering it to performers from Colorado or other areas.
"We're all a community and we're all supportive, but a lot of the drag jobs that this community sees; a lot of that money was going to hire queens and performers from outside the state to come here and perform," he said. "And so, as far as community and giving back to the community and keeping it within the community as much as possible, while honoring the ability to present guests - that's a huge important part of this; to honor and to employ and to have people from within our own city performing in these shows."
Of course, recently, drag shows have been, well, dragged for allegedly "grooming children." Stress said that their shows are going to be relatively family friendly, but that there is an age limit of 16 and older.
"Our drag troupe is going to be for adults and young adults in order to hone their art skills," he pledged. "There isn't going to be 'club drag' in our troupe. There won't be any half-clothed bodies. There won't be any of that stuff that people are afraid would 'groom' their kids. It's going to be wholesome entertainment. Yes, there will be PG-13 language and some burlesque presentation, but it will all be in good taste. And that's the job of the Haus Matrons, the Haus Mothers. It's our job to make sure that we're cultivating artistic choices and good messages for our community. Because drag is not only entertainment; it's a political statement. It's the ability to help educate people that aren't as informed or ones that don't have the ability or the resources to be properly informed."
Stress said that the shows that will happen in Casper are safe for people of all ages to attend.
"We have kids at our shows and they've had a great time," he offered. "Parents that bring their kids to our shows know that our content is wholesome and that we're not there to, quote unquote, 'recruit' anybody. We're just there to be a clown. We're there to have a good time and have people remember the clown. That's all."
Stress said that a big reason why he and his partner wanted to create this community was to give younger performers the chance to learn and develop and really find out who they are, in and out of the makeup.
"The people that we do accept in this audition will be featured in the spring show," he said. "They'll be the people underneath the headliners, so to speak. They'll be the guest performers of that show and we'll work with them on their numbers and really hone them into fully realized performance pieces. I don't think a lot of people in Wyoming have the same opportunity that we did in New York, for instance. They don't have those other influential people to look up to, and to help them get really good at what they want to do. A lot of them don't even realize that drag is really, more or less, an opportunity for LGBTQ and trans youth who didn't have the opportunity to perform in high school or college."
Stress and Andrea want to provide that opportunity. They want to give these rookie performers a chance to grow and develop themselves as performers and as human beings. They want to teach, they want to guide and, more than anything, they want to show these performers that they are worthy - of respect, of applause, and of love.
Auditions are happening at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, at The Lyric theater, in Downtown Casper.