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Drag Race Alums Spread Holiday Cheer at Parker Playhouse

Longtime drag performer Nina West (center) will host this year's A Drag Queen Christmas.
Longtime drag performer Nina West (center) will host this year's A Drag Queen Christmas. Photo by Nina West / "Jingle Juice"
Members of the drag community often joke about the misconception that Halloween is a drag queen’s favorite holiday. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth: Many performers consider it “amateur night,” in part because many queens unknowingly begin their careers as a joke while wearing a costume consisting of a cheap wig and a short dress. As it turns out, Christmas is a far more popular holiday for drag queens, as evidenced by the success of ensemble tours and holiday albums that feature some of the most recognizable drag performers in pop culture today.

A Drag Queen Christmas is perhaps the biggest and most successful of those tours. The annual tour, now in its fourth year, brings together a rotating cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni (among others) to spread holiday cheer across the nation in the weeks leading up to what can be the most difficult part of the year for many LGBTQ people. This Saturday, December 28, A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour will roar into Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse with enough rhinestones and glitter to fill Santa's giant gift sack.

This year, the tour is being hosted by longtime performer Nina West, who wrapped up her Drag Race stint earlier this year after snatching the show’s coveted Miss Congeniality title. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that West was chosen to be this year’s standard-bearer for the Murray & Peter Present production: She recently released her own holiday EP, and like Australian singer-songwriter Sia, she shares a love of Christmas and humanoid evening gowns.

West will be joined by six other queens who have spent years (and, in many cases, decades) building formidable careers. Latrice Royale, one of Drag Race’s most beloved alumnae and a longtime South Florida fixture, returns to the Drag Queen Christmas production for another year on the tour’s roster. Royale is no stranger to holiday cheer, having appeared on RuPaul’s “HoliSlay Spectacular” special last December as well as maintained her spot on the Drag Queen Christmas lineup for a number of years.

Nina West’s high degree of camp can often be matched only by Drag Race runnerup Manila Luzon. Luzon’s appearance alongside Latrice Royale at the Fort Lauderdale show will be a refreshing reunion, with the teammates and former competitors from two installments of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars slated to deliver their unique styles of performance to a captive audience. Luzon has also made numerous contributions to the various Christmas Queens albums that have been released annually since 2015. The records see a group of Drag Race alums and other well-known performers putting their own spin on Christmas classics as well as original tracks.

Lady Bunny, a longtime friend of RuPaul’s and an accomplished New York City-based queen herself, will take the stage at the Parker Playhouse as well. Bunny’s age is often the butt of many jokes — Luzon once referred to her as a “dinosaur” on TV — so the show is sure to include plenty of gentle ribbing about the icon’s legacy status.

Rounding out the Drag Queen Christmas lineup are Thorgy Thor, Shuga Cain, and Scarlet Envy. The latter two joined the Drag Race family earlier this year. Thorgy Thor, similar to Royale, aims to deliver a different experience from what people would come to expect at a drag show: A classically trained violinist, Thor often brings her instrument onstage and has spoken publicly about her desire to conduct a “Thorchestra” in drag.

In the words of Latrice Royale: “Ho, ho, ho, bitches!”

A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour. 8 p.m. Saturday, December 28, at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; Tickets cost $53 via
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