Drag show tucks rowdy crowd of 1,100 into Plachta Auditorium
If seeing a grown man’s butt cheeks hanging out of a zebra-print unitard sounds like a good time, Warriner Hall’s Plachta Auditorium was the place to be Wednesday night.
The annual drag show was a part of Central Michigan University’s Pride Week, sponsored by the Office of Gay and Lesbian Services, and organized by GLS Director Shannon Jolliff. The show began at about 7:20 p.m. and Jolliff said about 1,100 people attended.
“This is actually our second consecutive year having to open up the balcony,” Jolliff said.
Detroit-based drag queen Sabin has acted as host of the drag show for the last five years.
“You are at a drag show, not a Justin Bieber concert,” Sabin said. “If you throw your panties at me, I will whoop your ass like Charlie Sheen.”
Sabin performed three dance routines throughout the night. Michigan drag queens Eva and Karma performed, as well as drag king Dice Christina Santana and two first-time drag kings from the CMU area.
“Every year, Sabin brings a different flavor to the campus by bringing different queens,” Jolliff said. “I’ve actually never seen the audience have such a reaction to the drag kings before.”
Jolliff said she thinks the show was so well-attended because drag shows are not a regular occurrence in the Mount Pleasant area.
“I think it is that not only does this not happen often on campus,” Joliff said. “But the next closest place people can go (to see a drag show) is Lansing, and the next closest place is Detroit or Grand Rapids.”
The performers danced, lip-synched and flirted with audience members who stood near the stage holding up dollar bills.
Throughout the night, Sabin told jokes, took questions from the audience and flirted with and teased audience members. At one point, after being unexpectedly slapped on the rear by Wixom senior Ashley Chaplain, he pulled her in front of the entire audience and spanked her in return.
“This is what my mom sent me to college for, to get spanked on my ass,” Chaplain said.
Chaplain said she was very entertained and the show was more than she had expected.
“This is my first drag show ever,” Chaplain said. “I’m volunteering for Gay and Lesbian Services.”
Sabin, real name Tyler Cooper, said she was recently offered a job being a weekly host at a comedy club. She then relayed the story of how a performance at CMU three years ago, where she did a tapdance routine as a penguin from the movie “Happy Feet” and was given a standing ovation, was a pivotal moment in her career.
“When I was here three years ago, I did what I thought was a very insignificant number that ended up changing my career,” Sabin said. “You not only changed my performance career as Sabin; you changed my life as Tyler.”
Sabin, after her final performance of the night, again received a standing ovation from the CMU audience, who were cheering for an encore.
“They did not want it to end last night,” Jolliff said.
Holland senior Amanda Loudin said she would never miss the yearly drag show.
“I don’t think I’ve missed a drag show in three years,” she said. “It’s just amazing entertainment.”
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