If you’ve been following RuPaul’s Drag Race, you probably know who Courtney Act is. Some of you might also know her from her videos with Willam or there might even be a few of you who recognize her from Australian Idol.
It’s just like American Idol, but with Australians. This weekend, Ms. Act returned to NYC for her show “Boys Like Me” at the Laurie Beechman theater.
The theater is located in the basement of a restaurant off of Times Square, where I have never been, but certainly is a different experience breezing past the diners to head to what seems like a staircase to the kitchen. Downstairs, I was seated at a table with a few other people, in a small, intimate dinner theater type set up. Waiters came around taking orders. I wasn’t expecting a dinner menu, especially for a show starting at midnight.
The show opens up and is highlighted by Courtney Act’s live singing. Despite what the queens on Drag Race say, live singing isn’t new in the drag world, though Courtney doesn’t make it an impersonation thing. Everything is Courtney singing, not Cher or Bette or Madonna. It certainly was incredibly refreshing to see a drag queen telling her own story and being her own person. The song range is an impressive list, spanning from musical theater to pop to standards, all fitting smoothly and often hilariously into the story being told, most of which revolve around Courtney’s sexcapades. In the hands of many other drag performers, this would quickly become crude or x-rated, not that that’s a bad thing. However, this show managed to keep a sense of heart, and maybe a bit of class. The stories were charming in a way I haven’t seen in a drag show before, and certainly lacked the one up-manship and drama-llama stylings of many of the contestants of Drag Race.
“Boys Like Me” was an endearing trip into the psyche of one of drag’s rising stars. It was coy, funny, sexy, classy, and thoroughly up-beat and optimistic, even during Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” In a world of backstabbing bitches and queens who scream and jump into pools, Courtney is something fresh and inspiring.