A celebration of the roaring ’20s taking place later this month at College of DuPage will incorporate style and drama, glamor and showmanship — all presented by women in menswear and men dressed up fabulously female.
“They are taking the typical drag show and adding theater,” said Bradley Setter, president for external affairs of the Pride Alliance at COD, discussing the group’s second annual drag show, set for April 11.
The production will feature six performers — four drag queens and two drag kings — and a master of ceremonies. The performance will include 1920s-themed show tunes and other music, but that’s just the beginning.
“The performers have been working over the past two months to get this show together with performances and even a murder mystery script for the audience to follow,” said Setter, who describes himself as queer.
The show is designed to entertain, of course, but also to generate funds to enable a dozen or more Alliance members to attend the Midwest Bisexual Gay Lesbian Transgender Ally College Conference at Illinois State University in spring 2015. The annual meeting, launched in 1993, is the largest college conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and asexual students in the U.S.
A sociology major looking at completing his bachelor’s degree at North Central College or the University of Illinois at Chicago, Setter, 24, said he came out after completing four years of service in the Marines that included a deployment in Afghanistan.
The Alliance meetings he conducts at noon on Fridays typically attract about 40 participants. The membership — which includes transgendered men and women and people of assorted sexual preferences — is about twice the size it was last year, Setter said.
The organization pursues an inclusive mission.
“It’s to raise awareness and create a safe place on campus for all people to be themselves,” he said. “And to make it known that it is a very diverse place as well.”
Although data shows popular support for marriage equality has soared over the past several years, people whose preferences fall outside the parameters of traditional heterosexuality still often encounter a shortage of understanding in the non-LGBTA community.
“I think it’s a misunderstanding by all people actually, and it’s that gender is more than just male and female,” Setter said.
A broad spectrum of gender manifestations will be on stage at the drag show, which will have a “Fabulous ’20s” theme that was chosen in the hope of appealing to a wide range of ages.
“We really wanted to do burlesque,” Setter said.
Last year’s inaugural show drew an audience of about 50, he said, after a month of planning and preparation.
“This year we planned for four months, and we’ve been talking about it,” Setter said. “We have people who are coming to the show dressed up in drag. Everybody is really excited about it, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“The Fabulous ’20s” will be presented from 6 to 9 p.m. April 11 in room 2000 of the Student Resource Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Admission costs $10. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/events/359947997476335/.