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Drag returns to Fitton Center

Hamilton (OH) – The artform dates back to Shakespearean times. At least.

However, guests at Drag Show 3: Through the Decades (7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11) in the Carruthers Signature Ballroom at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts should anticipate a performance that’s less Elizabethan and more tied into the music and fashion of the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

Drag royalty in her own right, Brooklyn Steele-Tate assembled the cast and serves as emcee in the Jazz & Cabaret series finale to close out the Fitton Center’s 2023-2024 performance season.

Steele-Tate said she enjoys the sophistication of the Fitton Center, both in terms of its patrons and the facility itself.


“The biggest part of it is the audience,” she said. “They know they’re coming to a show, they’re coming to be entertained, they know they’re supposed to tip the entertainers. We don’t have to spend a lot of time or energy on instructing the crowd, which frees us up to be more in the moment, more spontaneous, more interactive.”

Which is where the facility comes into play.


“It’s a beautiful room, very intimate, very close,” she said. “We’re participating with the audience, not just on a stage at the end of a big room in front of an audience. It’s a give-and-take experience for us and for them. That raises the energy and makes it more fun for everyone.”


Some of the other queens in the DS3 court – all of whom are new to performing at the Fitton Center - include the reigning Mx Cincinnati Pride pageant winner Kora Sline, Tara Newone, Roxie D. Mocracy, Queen Danicure, Princess Pettycure, Drag King Johnny Justice, Montana Ba Nana and Anna Mosity.


“I wanted a fresh look this time,” Steel-Tate said. “They’re all relatively young – late 20s and early 30s – but they are all experienced performers. Very polished, very professional, very entertaining. I’m excited seeing what they’re pulling together for the Fitton Center. Some of them are working on big mixes. It’s going to be a production, not just a catwalk.”


Production value matters, especially when working in the context of the decades theme.


“We’ve had a lot of talk about old-school drag and dance parties and how those two go together,” Steele-Tate said. “We’re getting that retro vibe, but still keeping it current. These kids are fresh and young and they have new ideas. It allows a creativity for the entertainers that can be a little more focused on a certain period of fashion or music.


“With drag, that’s an expression that for just a few hours is pure escape, pure fun. You can go back in time with these entertainers today and you’ll see an era in a way maybe you didn’t see it back then.”


Prior to Drag Show 3, the Fitton Center celebrates the Gallery Opening for the 30th Anniversary Member Show art exhibition from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 11. Free and open to the public, the Member Show features pieces by more than 70 member artists – including Fitton students, instructors and family members – on view through July 12.


Both the Member Show and DS3 will have a cash bar with beer, wine, mixed drinks, soda and bottled water available.


Tickets to Drag Show 3: Through the Decades are $35 for Fitton Center members, $43 for non-members, and are available online right here, by phone at 513-863-8873, ext. 110 or in person at the Fitton Center box office. Seating is general admission, but guests may reserve tables of eight in advance of the show.


Representatives from Hamilton Pride, Cincinnati Pride and the recently established Lebanon Pride will be on hand with information tables to detail their organizations’ activities for Pride Month in June and beyond.


The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.


Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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