These six ladies must prove that they have "something extra," according to the cheeky host of the Miss Glamouresse pageant (John Bolton, center). Credit: Tyrone Rasheed
“Pageant,” which opened off-Broadway at The Davenport Theater on July 14, is not your average musical. A comedic romp, it pokes fun at the pageant girl culture with men in drag representing various regions of the U.S. — like Miss Bible Belt and Miss Great Plains. From God-blessed Southern belles to the feisty Latina, the mish-mash of personalities and skewering of stereotypes provides non-stop laughs.
Contestants not only have to model bathing suits and ball gowns, but also shill terrible products — like perfume for fat girls and industrial-strength facial spackle — for the sponsor, Glamouresse. There's also a talent portion of the evening that gets a little weird (in a good way), followed by a Q-and-A session that some ladies handle with better grace than others. But perhaps the most riveting character is the evening’s intensely charismatic host, Frankie Cavalier (John Bolton), who innocently interjects double entendre and moves the show along as it gets increasingly, hilariously awkward.
Every night, the audience votes for the winner, giving the musical an interactive element that keeps each performance fresh. Sure, it’s silly, and the tunes aren’t anything special, but it’s all for fun. Mix it up on your next date night: “Pageant” runs 85 minutes without intermission.