(May, 2022 — Haddon Township, NJ)
“Mirror, mirror of success, who will be Miss Glamouress?” Six contestants emerge from behind a gold shimmer curtain to take part in an epic battle of hairspray and cheesy quatrain in the musical comedy Pageant, the latest mainstage show presented by The Ritz Theatre Company.
Ushered on by a crooning host, the (drag queen) contestants compete in several different categories in an effort to win the coveted title of Miss Glamouress. To make the show even more intriguing, each night, judges selected from the viewing audience will actually vote and determine the winner, who, therefore, may be different at each performance! Directed by Matt Reher, the show runs at The Ritz from May 13th through May 29th.
“Pageant is a pageant—but funnier,” explains Mr. Reher. “The show equally celebrates femininity and humanity. It reminds us that beauty lives in even the most unexpected places. It’s high-energy, quick-paced, and packed with joy, glitz, and Girl Power! And for those seeking deeper themes about transforming beauty standards or tearing down the patriarchy, that’s there too.”
Featuring a book and lyrics by Bill Russell and Frank Kelly, and music by Albert Evans, Pageant was first presented by Jonathan Scharer in association with Chip Quigley at the Blue Angel in New York City on May 2, 1991. The show was conceived, directed, and choreographed by Robert Longbottom—and takes its shots not by mocking the prototypical pageant from the outside, but by being one.
“To call Pageant a parody of America’s obsession with beauty pageants is just part of what makes the show so great,” says actor Tim Herman, who tackles the role of local celebrity, crooner, and master of ceremonies Frankie Cavalier in the show. “We laugh at the jokes about how superficial we can be, but we also embrace the warmth, dedication, and brilliance of these women. I saw the original production five times in New York! Consider me obsessed.”
Joining Mr. Herman on stage for this unique pageant experience are performers Jerrod Ganesh (Miss Deep South), Brian Gensel (Miss West Coast), Achilles Inverso (Miss Texas), Devon Spencer Lynch (Miss Great Plains, Antoine Martinez-Jones (Miss Industrial Northeast), and Kyle Smith (Miss Bible Belt). The production team includes music director Erik Meyer, choreographer Kelly DeFulgentis, costumer Megan Iafolla, scenic designer William Bryant, lighting designer Matthew Weil, and stage manager Chantel Cumberbatch. All are incredibly excited to bring this show to vibrant life on the Ritz stage.