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Friday, Jul 25, 2014 - Canvassed | Art & culture

This beauty pageant is not a drag

Cygnet's all-male spoof is more entertaining than Comic-Con

By David Coddon
pageant_misswestcoast Luke Harvey Jacobs in Cygnet Theatre's Pageant.
- Photo courtesy of Cygnet Theatre

People dressed up at Comic-Con this weekend? So what? Guys dressed up as beauty-pageant contestants in tourist-happy Old Town? Now, that's worth seeing, even if you've seen Pageant before. The musical spoof written by Bill Russell and Frank Kelly has been presented by Cygnet Theatre before, nine years ago, when it was still located in the Rolando space now occupied by Moxie Theatre, and in 2002 it was staged at the North Coast Rep up in Solana Beach. One of that production's actors, James Vasquez, is now directing this current presentation of Pageant.  

Now that you've got all that straight, here's the setup: Six guys dressed as female beauty queens compete for the title of Miss Glamouresse (named for a cosmetics maker). They dance, sing, strut and parody traditional beauty pageants at the beck and call of emcee Frankie Cavalier (Phil Johnson, making Bert Parks look like a shrinking violet). There are no holds barred and virtually no surprises here, but Pageant, which is now a 23-year-old musical, still has a spring in its high-heeled step. Best among the contestants is David McBean as Miss Deep South, who does a ventriloquist act superior to Billy Flynn's in Chicago and who brings to mind a Scarlett O'Hara in drag.

Pageant runs through Aug. 31.

 
 
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