Writer: Chelsea Piers
Director: Darius Rose
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
Chelsea Piers is the showtune belting, punk rock drag goddess of Hell’s Kitchen, so why hasn’t she been on RuPaul’s Drag Race yet? At the Laurie Beechman Theatre, with musical direction by Brandon James Gwinn, Chelsea strives to answer the question, when will she get her chance at international stardom?
Taking the audience on the journey of putting together a submission for the hit reality show, Chelsea sings, shimmies, and sparkles her way through a labyrinth of requirements. She checks off the list of RPDR requirements as she makes gagworthy dresses out of uncommon materials, slays as various artists in a pop princess snatch game, and impersonates her fellow queens. Preparing herself for the reading challenge, Ms. Piers recounts some of the noteworthy drags she has received from others on Instagram. It’s one thing to read someone else, but to embrace others’ reading of herself is a feat of comedic bravery that Chelsea tackles with apparent ease.
Chelsea brings heart, energy, and a dazzling sense of humor to her performance. Her lip sync to Celine Dion is a showstopper, and a lovingly hilarious tribute to everyone’s favorite French-Canadian power belter. That as well as her mashup of several of RuPaul’s singles brought several members of the audience to their feet. Chelsea proves to be charming, vulnerable, and welcoming. Her effervescent likability is well-matched by her fantastic wardrobe and wig collection. Each costume change supports the plot brilliantly.
There is only one performance remaining of Are You There Ru? It’s Me, Chelsea, and it is absolutely worth the trek to midtown on a cold Saturday evening (if there is higher praise, please inform this reviewer immediately). If RuPaul gets to see even a glimpse of Chelsea’s magical performance, it is unfathomable to think we won’t soon see Chelsea Piers sashaying her way onto the set of Drag Race.
Runs until 17 February 2018 | Image: James Michael Avance