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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015
Out and about

Role reversal

Hernando Today Correspondent


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On Saturday evening at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, the original production "The Evolution of Drag - Drag Through the Decades" opens for a one-night-only performance. Conceived, written, choreographed and starring Michael Dixon, aka Daphne Ferraro, this show promises to deliver on entertainment, featuring the area's top drag performers in celebrity impersonations from different genres, glamorous costumes and lots of hair, makeup and big eyelashes.

Dixon says his first love is theater, but he gets his creativity from drag. A hometown boy, he grew up in Spring Hill and attended Springstead High School. There he was a thespian, working both onstage and backstage for many student productions. He later worked at Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, circa l999-2000, as a male actor, when he began to develop his drag character, Daphne.

Dixon has written several original productions, and has competed nationally in drag pageants, winning recognition for his characterizations. His college degree in fashion design and marketing lends itself well to this life. He lives and works full-time in the field of marketing in Tampa.

He wrote "Evolution of Drag - Drag Through the Decades" to highlight the little snippets in history from l920s to current time and beyond to the future, to showcase the strong women who have inspired these males in drag. "This original show has already been produced to other sold out crowds, and Show Palace is excited to bring this production to its stage," says Jennifer Mara, business manager for Show Palace Entertainment.

"A lot of people think of drag as character illusion, and we will have many of the pop culture favorites, like Cher, Madonna, Cindy Lauper and even Adele, but this show also has characters I created who exemplify some of those iconic women in history, like the women who worked in the factories during the war and the housewives of the l950s to the women's rights movement and what their impact has been on the women of today."

Dixon stars and headlines the show as Daphne Ferraro, along with a cast of 10 impersonators and four male dancers. Each impersonator portrays four or five different female characters. "This is not the type of show you would see in a bar," said Dixon, "but rather a play, with narration, glamorous costumes, technical lighting and music of the decades." Dixon says he brainstorms to figure out what songs he wants to use and then creates a story that sends a message. "Evolution of Drag - Drag Through the Decades" is really built on his previous show that was done a few years ago. This new production promises to be even more spectacular and includes brief examples of historical events over the decades that have inspired pop culture and drag queens the world over.

Lip syncing is part of the allure of drag, and this cast has lip synching down to an art. "This is a highly professional performance seen through the eyes of a drag queen - a snapshot of what we were inspired by throughout the decades," said Dixon, who promises large spectacular production numbers. Dixon explores the decade of the l920s with flapper dresses and songs from "Chicago."

A trio of ladies in the style of the Anderson Sisters brings us into the l940s, while the audience is invited to a classic disco night scene to celebrate the l970s.

Dixon says he enjoys doing these full-scale productions and "exploring my theatre roots" as he brings these characters to life onstage. "This show will have something for everyone," says Dixon. "People love drag for the lightheartedness of it. We are there to have fun and everyone can go on a fantastic voyage with us and escape reality for a while."

"The Evolution of Drag - Drag Through The Decades" promises to be a good time for adults. Take this trip down memory lane with Daphne Ferraro with her cast of impersonators. Tickets are $25 plus tax and can be purchased by calling the box office at (727) 863-7949 or by going online to palace.c

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