Valentine’s Day at The Marquee was anything but a drag

The restaurant’s tables were covered in red and pink plastic sheets. Small, red hearts were sprinkled on them. Lights fixed above streamed hues of red and indigo over the area. Excited murmurs made a hum under the music. Four brown couches sat empty under a violet light on stage.

The Sheridan Student Union held a drag show at the Marquee for Valentine’s Day this year. It featured three drag queens who competed on Season 11 of the Netflix show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Danny Connelly, Senior Manager of Programming and Events said the drag show is part of their Black History Month events and that there is a strong LGBTQ community at the Trafalgar campus.

“All three drag queens are from the black community . . . we’re kind of hitting both communities at once . . . and making sure we’re raising awareness. Not just about LGBTQ issues but also about Black History Month as well,” said Connelly.

Third year Bachelor of Film and Television student Celeste said they attended because they love drag queens.

“I’m obviously gay, I’ve been following [RuPaul’s Drag Race] for a couple of years now and my friend told me about the event and I was like I need to go,” said Celeste.

When the Master of Ceremonies for the night stepped on stage, a hush fell over the crowd.

“Get ready for a night of jaw-dropping, sizzling, and fierce performances from the hit Netflix show RuPaul’s Drag Race . . . Expect the unexpected. Expect costumes, performances, looks, and thick thighs,” said the MC.

The crowd responded with cheering and applause. After about 15 minutes, the MC announced the drag queens one by one. First was Silky Nutmeg Ganache who wore a pink skirt. Then A’keria Chanel Davenport who wore a pink suit with a black, mesh shirt. Finally, Ra’Ja O’Hara came out in a pink, ribbed dress. They waved and posed as they strutted down steps that led into the restaurant. The crowd roared after each queen appeared. The queens walked on stage and settled onto the couches.

“I just wanna say that I have been A’keria’s Valentine all day, but there’s enough of me to go around so, If you ain’t got a Valentine, I’ll be yours too,” said Ganache.

“And I’ll gladly give her away,” said Davenport while laughing.

A Q&A began and the queens were asked a series of questions. The questions involved their experiences filming the show and challenges they face being from both the black and LGBTQ communities. The queens proved wise and insightful. Each answer garnered applause.

After the Q&A, the queens left the stage. SSU employees moved the couches and microphone stand leaving the stage bare. The stage lights turned off save for a single violet one that streaked across the black curtain. After about 30 minutes, the lights returned and the three drag queens came out to lip sync in flashy gold costumes. The performance lasted about five minutes and the crowd exploded in cheers throughout the routine.

After the routine, the MC announced a contest to win Black History Month merchandise. Eight people from the audience were chosen to go on stage and come up with a drag name. The three names that received the most cheers won. The winners were: Brown Sugar, Lava Latina, and Miss Sherry Dom.

The contest ended and the stage was bare once again. After about 20 minutes, Silky Nutmeg Ganache walked down the steps in a sparkling red dress. She lip synced to a moving medley of Whitney Houston songs. During the performance, she walked off stage and in between tables. She noticed an SSU photographer following her with his camera and took it from him. She held the lens toward her as she lip synced causing laughter from the crowd. She ended the performance by sitting at the front of the stage. She caressed the face of one lucky audience member as she sang the last song in the medley.

Once Ganache’s performance ended, the lights dimmed. O’Hara walked down the steps in an elegant white dress. She lip synced to Lizzo’s Truth Hurts. She began the performance standing still. When the beat dropped, she removed her headpiece and the front of her dress and started dancing to the music. The audience erupted in cheer.

Davenport gave the final performance: she lip synced to Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.” She walked down the steps in a white, frilly gown that bounced at the slightest movement. Davenport removed the gown when the beat dropped. She revealed a sparkling, white and silver bodysuit covered in sparkling tassels. The audience once again erupted in cheer.

The queens came back to the stage together to thank the Sheridan community for having them. The MC handed each drag queen a bouquet as thanks for coming to Sheridan.

They ended the night by doing meet and greets outside the restaurant. A line formed as the majority of attendees wanted a chance to have their picture taken with the esteemed queens. It’s safe to say that the night was a major success.

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About Raymond Cabbab 13 Articles
Raymond Cabbab is a journalism student with a passion for local and global politics. His goal is to give a voice to underserved communities.