Drag the Musical – Recording Review


As a child, I was absolutely obsessed with channels such as Disney channel where they would show what could only be described as the golden age of teen drama shows. I spent many an evening sitting in front of the TV watching shows such as ‘Wizards of Waverley Place, Phineas and Ferb, Sonny With A Chance and ‘The Suite Life on Deck’ with the latter having one of the most emotional endings to a TV shows I can ever remember seeing. That moment when Mr Mosby turns to London Tipton and gives her his number for when she needs him only for the camera to pan to reveal London calling him in tears a moment will forever bring me close to tears and will forever be etched into my brain! There was nothing more exciting when growing up than when you favourite TV characters announced that in a future episode they would be crossing over the fictional borders to interact with each other. I remember having my little mind absolutely blown when it was announced that not two, but three of my favourite shows would be merging together in the iconic “That’s so sweet life of Hannah Montana!” As I got older I moved for a love of teen drama shows to the worlds of musical theatre and the art form of drag! This is why my mind almost exploded when it was announced that a new studio recording of “Drag: the musical” with a cast including some of the most famous faces to ever come from Ru Paul’s drag race was available on Spotify, I knew it was going to be a piece of me!


This wonderfully campy show goes from the creative mind of none other than the winner of Ru Paul’s drag race all stars season two Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. I was not aware of this theatrical and creative side of Alaska as we didn’t get to see this side of her during her time on the show but it’s great to see a queen from the show doing something that is not just touring or creating a classic drag style song but creating an entire musical that utilises many of famous drag race faces! The story follows two gay bars “the fishbowl” and the “Cathouse” were are fearful under the threat of potential closure due to financial pressures and so decide the best way to stop this dreadful event is to work together. The idea of entertainment venues’ fearing closure due to increased rent is something is important now more than ever (with the cost of living we are experiencing in the UK) so having this idea as an underlying narrative is really great to see. Those who have ever been lucky enough to experience a drag show will know that queens are not known for being the best team players and so this merger leads to some hilarious quips and catty interactions but above all things professionalism is what helps these performers save their beloved venue!


This show opens with the recognisable tones of the winner of Ru Paul’s drag race season eight and We’re here host Bob the Drag Queen who introduced the first of two drag bars in “Welcome to the Fishtank.” Bob takes on the role of an almost compare of a ball (similar to what you would see of Pray Tell in Pose) who helps to introduce the club and set the mood for the rest of the show. This character helps to introduce another iconic famous face through a character voiced by none other than the wonderfully talented Michelle Visage who delivered what can only be described as a crash course of how to act at a drag show including not touching the Queens unless consent is given. One of the constant complaints about drag race is that the judges never take part in the challenges themselves so seeing Michelle doing what she made a name for herself doing was fantastic! On top of this, the idea of Michelle and Bob as an opening double act fills my little heart with our joy! This sort of compare style opening with an outline of expectations of the night sounded some similarities to the likes of Moulin Rouge (which we also reviewed in London a few months ago which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/08/18/moulin-rouge-production-review/) which I can image would have the audience going wild when performed live! After the queens of the fishbowl were given an opening number it’s only fair that their rivals over at the cathouse also get to introduce themselves which is exactly the purpose of the song “cathouse fever” is all about. The iconic trio of Ginger Minj, peppermint and anchor of all things drag race related Jujubee headline the Jazzy burlesque style number that beautifully contrasts this competitor’s opening number earlier in the album! My favourite track in the recording would have to be “Queen Kitty” which shows homage to one of my all-time favourite musicals the Rocky horror picture show. The song contains fairly similar electric guitar motifs and talks about space travel with the staring performer, Alaska herself, in this case, strutting across the stage. The number features drag race UK season two’s Divina DeCampo (who we were lucky enough to meet a few months ago during her UK tour which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/07/22/red-wig-and-a-silver-dress-experience-review/) In a weird coincidence, when I met Divina I was wearing my Rocky horror top and she talked about how much she wanted to star in that show only for her to appear of a track in ‘Drag: the musical’ that shows heavy resemblance to the song sweet transvestite!


I personally thought that the song “I’m just Brendan” was beautifully performed by insanely talented young performer Jack Rodman. This number is all about a young person who is going through their own queer journey without fully understanding the ideas of sexuality which is an experience that many LGBT+ people go through when they are growing up. Jack excellently uses his voice to bring a certain sense of nativity and innocence to this song which really amplifies to emotional message of self-acceptance in the song. A version of this song titled “Brendan is his name” appears later in the album which is an energetic version of the earlier song. The contrast of confusion to celebration in the two similar numbers was absolutely beautifully performed but also perfectly demonstrated the development of this character! The two clubs finally decided that joining forces is the only way to save the drag scene which is why we get the wonderfully camp “Two bitches is better than one” with the two owners deciding to come together. This song is hilariously crammed full of the two owners throwing insults at one another while simultaneously realising that they must join forces. Suddenly, however, the number picks up from a drawn-back song to an intense and high-energy track which I can imagine being performed as a duet in open mic nights all around the world! We also see the return of “Welcome to the fishtank” towards the end of the album but this time is it welcomes patrons to the newest club the catfish (which is a very clever name might I add) which helps to create an amazing circular narrative to the show but also marks the beginning of the end of the performance itself!

Overall, Drag the musical is a very cleverly written musical with multiple iterations of songs that helps to tie the whole recording together. I was not aware of the musical talent of Alaska before reviewing this production but now I cannot wait to see what she does next! I hope that there will come a time when this production travels across the pond for a UK tour as you know I will be in that audience! It is beautifully camp and contains some of the most talented queens to ever appear on drag race (and some who have not appeared on the show yet!) with nods to some of the most iconic queer moments in pop culture. This is absolutely a show for a more mature audience as it contains some strong language and queer themes but at the same time will have you laughing throughout! I would rate this album 4.5 stars out of 5!


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