Britney Spears, Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand — or at least their impersonators — will make a theatrical comeback on stage at the Miss Gay New York America Pageant in March.
The preliminary competition to the overall national pageant promises dramatic performances, sparkling evening gowns, impressive costumes and big personalities. Competitors come from far and wide because it’s a regional show that funnels its winner into the national pageant, promising a variety of acts — and accents.
There are five categories the men must dominate in: the male interview done in a suit and tie; the presentation with a themed costume; the evening gown; the on-stage interview; and talent, which is a big production with a number of costumes, sets and dancers.
Not only that, Tommie Ross, a legendary female impersonator, will give her own performance and past winners, including Deva Station (2018) and Kelly Ray Shelton (2017) will be honored. Thomas John, a medium and author, is promoting the show.
While the contestants are still applying for the March 13 show, Ohio resident Deva Station is helping people get ready for the competition and said this year looks promising.
“You might see a Grammy production number to something you might see on the Oscars to impersonations of Dolly, Barbara and Britney,” the 46-year-old said. “People get really creative and come up with their own characters, too. You’ll see production value — they don’t mess around. There will be entrants with U-Hauls full of props, lighting, costumes, video screens and $5,000 evening gowns that will take you into a dream land.”
The winner of the preliminary will go to St. Louis in October for the Miss Gay America Pageant to compete for $1,500, a photoshoot and a “Slaycation” to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The Miss Gay America Pageant was established in 1972 and is the world’s first and longest-running female impersonator competition. Unlike other pageants, it’s strictly men impersonating women. Body augmentations below the neck are not allowed, meaning the men must rely on the skills it takes to impersonate women using padding, clothing, wigs and makeup.
Those who win get to travel and raise money for organizations close to their hearts, like Deva Station’s Camp Sunrise that helps children infected and affected by HIV/AIDs. It also empowers gay men to do drag, Station said.
“I think it’s incredibly important as a gay man [that this pageant exists],” Station said. “Looking at our history and the evolution of our rights and privileges and the path that was paved by the queens at Stonewall (Inn) who fought back, the fact that we can do this in a very civilized and dignified format is fantastic.”
The meaning is an important one to the pageant’s owners, too. Michael Dutzer and Rob Mansman donated $5,000 to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation for the wellness and empowerment of young people and even named the pop star the first honorary Miss Gay America in December 2017.
Tickets to the show on March 13, which runs 7 p.m. to midnight at Hudson Terrace in Hell’s Kitchen, are $15 online.
And for the first time this year, there will be a New York preliminary show for the Mr. Gay America pageant, just the night before the Miss Gay America preliminary. The 2017 Mr. Gay America, Kyle Ean, will be in attendance to celebrate. Tickets are $15 online as well.