Edie overcomes ‘complete shock’ of ‘Zumanity’ closing in Vegas drag revue
Closing ‘Zumanity’ was a drag, but Edie’s drag show is a blast in downtown Las Vegas.
Somewhere in the seismic shifts of the pandemic we have caught up with a 12-year Cirque du Soleil star who will not be reopening his show.
Or, her show, in this case.
Edie, as she is known onstage, and Christopher Kenney away from it, was cut loose with the rest of “Zumanity” at New York-New York in November. Never to be knocked off the spindles (or 6-inch heels) the great drag character prospers in “Faaabulous” at Notoriety at Neonopolis. Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays.
Kenney and partner Jamie Morris (also co-star of “Puppetry of the Penis” at Erotic Heritage Museum) have developed a terrifically funny, and vocally satisfying, drag showcase. The singers all sing the series of novelty numbers.
The primary cast (stage names, all) is Edie, Vita Summers, Sandra “SanSan” Santigold, Sunshine, Dusty Muffin and JuneBug (all recognizable on the drag scene). The backing dancers are, Taylor Bradley, Curtis Goodman, Joe Rivera and Eric Lehn. Swings are Kitty Delmar and Jessica Grabbit.
It might not be the multimillion-dollar spectacle that was “Zumanity” on the Strip, but there is something to be said for absolute talent, a smart use of resources and manageable overhead. And, not to belabor the obvious, this plucky production is still onstage.
Some time ago, we fired a few questions at the towering drag performer, forging a dream in downtown L.V. The highlights:
Johnny Kats: It’s been some time since “Zumanity” closed. What goes through your mind when someone mentions the show, or Cirque generally?
Edie: I don’t know. I have to move on. I was so comfortable for so long. The fighter inside of me says, ‘What’s the next gig?’ That part of my brain kind of opened back up, being a solo artist but also for a group of people. It’s a little more intense.
Kats: What is the biggest challenge in developing the show?
Edie: Getting the word out. To be frank, it’s not my expertise here. We’re making just enough to pay the cast. I haven’t been paid yet, myself, not once. We need to hire someone to come on and help us get the word out. I’m used to performing, not wearing every single hat. But I’m up for the challenge. Bring it on.
Kats: It’s tough for a small-capacity show to get brokers to sell tickets when you’re only performing once a week.
Edie: If you see me standing on I-15 in full drag, with a sign that says, “Faaabulous Tonight at 8!’ — don’t laugh.
Kats: You have any projects outside “Faaabulous?”
Edie: I’ve written a new show, “Las Vegas Showgirl: Unleashed,” that’s going to tour the east coast in August. It’s how Edie got to Vegas, how she got to Cirque, and how the show closed eight months into a pandemic. It’s life after Cirque. It’s light and fun, but I want audiences to know the truth. This is what happened, and it really sucked.
Kats: How did you learn “Zumanity” would close?
Edie: We were on a Zoom meeting and we were told this was just a COVID update, and we thought there was this tiny light at the end of the tunnel, and then it was, the show is closing and in two weeks your health insurance is gone. We were completely shocked, and I’ll tell about how shocked we were.
Kats: What is your long-term vision for “Faaabulous” in Las Vegas?
Edie: I want it to be a full-fledged, five-or-six-days-a-week show. I want it to be popular. I want people to feel fabulous when they leave the building. I want it to be a major show in Las Vegas. I know we have serious competition, with ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race’ coming back (to Flamingo Showroom), but I think there is room for Ru Paul’s TV, lip-syncing show, and the other one with real singing and silliness.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.