Ginger Minj, of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, and long-time collaborator Gidget Galore bring their tribute to Broadway to Chicago in the form of The Broads’ Way. Produced by Fruit Wine Productions, this comedic romp through the most iconic songs and characters of the Great White Way is a delightful experience from start to finish.
Broadway and drag are a natural combination. Both involve live performance, sparkles, music, and a general unapologetic over-the-topness. The Broads’ Way delivers all these elements and more. The show’s simple premise is that Minj and Galore are hoping to be discovered and get their big break by following a checklist that will make their performance truly great. As they sing and dance their way through favorite musicals like The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, and Annie, they crack jokes and interact with the audience with their own unique charm. The result is an evening that’s low on stakes and high on fun.
You don’t have to be a Broadway expert to enjoy this performance. Minj and Galore are drawing on some of the best-known songs in the genre, like “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” from Annie and “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. An audience participation portion asks two audience members to try to name the ten shows featured in a five-minute musical montage, with such hits as “Seasons of Love” from RENT and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. My personal favorite numbers were Minj’s heartful renditions of two showstopping diva songs, “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard and “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy.
Both queens have strong enough singing voices and comedic chops to make this showtune celebration shine. Frequent costume changes add another enjoyable element, as famous pieces like Annie’s red dress or Norma Desmond’s turban get a dazzling drag twist. There’s something refreshing, too, about watching Broadway’s best be performed by plus-size people, which happens all too rarely.
The Broads’ Way is, in a word, fun. The mix of comedy and musical theatre tributes works well, and the result is simply fabulous. Catch this limited-engagement show before it’s gone.
Location: The Venus Cabaret, 3745 N. Southport Ave.
Dates: January 18 – February 4
Times: Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Ticket: $40 – $75 and on sale now at the Mercury Theater website or by calling the box office at 773.360.7365.
Photos by Trevor Beaty.