Dishing On “Divas”
Alan Palmer came to Richmond last week bringing 20 friends with him.
In the Fabulous Divas of Broadway currently playing the Richmond Triangle Players, this one-man act offers impressions of his favorite Broadway leading ladies – all with multiple costume changes in a perfected 85-minute timeframe.
While on the East Coast this week, Palmer took a road trip to New York and caught up with GayRVA by phone.
GayRVA: What inspired Divas?
Palmer: We were rehearsing for Sweeney Todd at our theater in California when the rights were taken away. Sweeney Todd was getting ready to tour again and we had to put something together quickly. I had been working on a cabaret piece and we had all these costumes at the theater. By the end of the first show, there were a million of them everywhere!
What is it about Broadway that resonates with gay audiences?
I think it has something to do with the fantasy and escape. When you’re going to see a Broadway show, there are so many different scenarios and so many different things you can be.
There’s something magical about being someone different than you really are. I think it comes from being ostracized for so long. For me, theater was that place of belonging.
Looking at Broadway, all of these incredible women played such great roles. If you look at just the lyrics alone, they are amazing. If you’re in a bad mood, there’s definitely a song that can pull you out of that mood.
It’s funny being in New York – there are a lot of people that have never seen a Broadway show. Today, there’s a whole group of people dying off. Their parents brought them to theater and gave them that culture. We need to refill and reeducate to get everyone back into participating in art.
The great thing about gay and lesbian theater, is that while you might not necessarily see straight people in a gay bar, you can find them catching a show if there is a piece they want to see. It shows that there is more besides sex to the gay and lesbian community.
How do you move everything from the show?
We actually condense everything into one box and ship it out to the next venue. It’s really tiny because everything we have break down into small pieces – it’s about 120 lbs, but it all still fits into one box.
Do you ever add new divas?
It changes over time. If there is someone that has been making headlines, I throw that in. I’m currently working on the Christmas version – it will be a Christmas Carol Channing.
Alan Palmer’s Fabulous Divas of Broadway plays the Richmond Triangle Players at 1300 Altamont Avenue, through Saturday. For tickets and showtimes, visit http://rtriangle.org.
Photo: Palmer channels his inner Patti LuPone. Courtesy of Alan Palmer.
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