If the first thing the phrase “Frightmare on Glam Street” conjures for you is something like the unholy union of Gary Glitter and Freddy Krueger, you wouldn’t be totally off base.
As intriguing as that specter might be, though, Dragoween 2013: Frightmare on Glam Street — The Biggest Drag Production in Texas (to use its full and proper title), which takes place Saturday, is much bigger, more substantial proposition (also: real).
“Dragoween is a stepping stone, a way of saying, ‘just throw on a dress, you'll have just as much fun.’” — Eric Caruthers, Austin Roundup chair
Dragoween’s ambitious purpose is twofold: to benefit Austin Roundup, a nonprofit, annual conference for the LGBTQA recovery community that is now in its 14th year, and to provide irrefutable proof of how much fun can be had in a completely sober environment.
“We do the show for to raise money for the conference,” explains Austin Roundup Chair Eric Caruthers, “but also because once someone gets sober, we get this feeling of ‘oh my goodness, my life is not going to be any fun now.’ So one of the other missions of our fundraising is to create fun events and things that we can do together and have a blast.”
“Drag is huge in our community,” he continues. “Some did it before they got sober and some started after. Dragoween is a stepping stone, a way of saying, ‘just throw on a dress, you'll have just as much fun.’”
The result is a huge production of mixed dance repertoire, including professional and amateur drag queens and kings, experienced dance performers and people who have never danced on stage before. The show is staged entirely by volunteers of all levels of experience who go through months of rehearsal under the guidance of experienced creative, theatrical and dance directors, also all working as volunteers.
The sheer force of this labor of love and service has made its mark over the years, to the point that the annual Halloween shindig has attracted an audience far bigger than its original community.
“Each year, more and more people from outside the recovery community have become involved,” says Caruthers. “Through this beautiful event, everyone manifested into this beautiful community that supports our conference.”
This weekend’s production looks to live up to that spectacular reputation. Performers will personify “everyone from Bette Midler to Christina Aguilera to Barry Manilow to the Pussycat Dolls” and beyond, says Caruthers, and the proceedings will, as is pretty much mandatory, include a disco ball. “We’ve got take it retro, too!”
Dragoween: Nightmare on Glam Street takes place Saturday, Oct. 26. You can find out more about the event, including how to buy tickets, here.