“I’m just a man in a dress,” s(he) declared, “trying to spread a little joy, happiness and silliness in the world,” at the close of her raucous Pink Eggs & Glam show. The hoots and claps of the 100 or so Sunday brunchers affirmed their agreement.
A few hours earlier, a lively line of chatty smiling faces stretched down the sun-splashed street in front of The Social on a crisp late-winter morning, eagerly awaiting the New London appearance of New York drag queen extraordinaire, Sutton Lee Seymour.
Once inside, mimosas and Bloody Marys soon begin flowing freely. Techno disco-like music pulsates off the roomy Social’s contrasting walls of exposed brick and sunny yellow, priming the crowd. Seymour rewards their patient anticipation with a flamboyant entrance, resplendent in a form-fitting black dress covered with glimmering gold dots, her head conspicuously topped by a 12” high platinum beehive wig.
“Are there any homosexuals in the crowd?” she yells. A handful of arms go up. “Are there any lesbians in the crowd?” Eight or so arms are raised. “So I guess the rest are straights?” Sutton declares, and hesitant laughter rolls through the crowd.
“Let’s all get wasted and have the time of our lives,” Seymour urges, as she launches into a lively song and dance routine with the super-charged energy of a nuclear reactor. She flows smoothly around the room, stopping to poke fun at someone at every table.
Displaying a resonant voice and adept dance steps, Seymour’s set features Broadway and Hollywood show tunes, adeptly mimicking Joan Rivers, Liza Minelli, Cindy Lauper, Madonna, and others. Introducing her tribute to Titanic, she said her favorite scene was when the ship was going down. “I have a lot of experience going down,” she exhorts, as she thrusts the microphone in and out of her mouth, drawing resounding roars from the crowd.
Arms jump up waving dollar bills and Seymour gracefully glides between tables, thanking each patron as she snatches them up. When a hand is full, she relishes having patrons stuff them into her bust or behind the spaghetti straps down her back. “Oh, careful, my phony tit is coming out,” she chuckles.
It all seems to be natural for Seymour, who was in the fourth grade the first time he ever performed in drag in public. “I was obsessed with PBS’ televised version of the musical Into The Woods, starring Bernadette Peters,” Seymour says. “She was playing a witch who is old and haggard in the first act but her first solo was a Rap – which I had memorized word for word. When my school’s talent show came up, I was very insistent with my mother that I dress as the witch from Into The Woods and perform this Rap in front of my entire school. And my mother was absolutely on board: she found an old black dress, put me in a black blouse and cape, painted my face in old lady drag, and sat in the front row.”
“Looking back on that time now,” Seymour says, “I didn’t realize how much balls I had to get up in drag in front of my entire school. But they ate it all up.”
With two decades of professional entertaining behind her, Seymour has a routine to get into the right mindset before each performance. “Red Bull and prayer,” she laughs. “I am a high-energy performer, so making sure I am well-fueled is important. I also find the process of putting on makeup very calming.”
Pink Eggs & Glam is a monthly hit at The Social. “New London has been a blessing,” says the show’s producer, Sky Casper. With a bevy of drag queens to draw from, Casper is putting on shows throughout Connecticut, but “New London has given me more support than any area,” he says. (check Skycasper.com for details)
The audience was three-quarters women. Screaming and hollering and getting involved are part of the show. “Just about everywhere I bring a drag show,” Casper says, “it pulls a large crowd of women because they’re open to going out and trying something new and having a good time.”
For one skit in Pink Eggs & Glam, Seymour asked for four volunteers from the audience. With her coaxing, they soon had the crowd uproariously laughing as they mimed through a sequence mimicking a shopping cart, a lawn mower, a sprinkler, and Charlie Brown.
“Drag is an all-out improv,” Seymour says. “What many do not realize is that drag queens are like orchestra conductors and the audience is our orchestra. We control the flow of energy through song, dance, comedy and topical commentary. The whole evening,” she says, “is a crescendo and decrescendo of energy. And I love that.”
“Like the life you live and live the life you like,” she admonishes as the music dins.
Seymour gave them their money’s worth. For an hour-plus, she sang, danced and joked with bawdy abandon, jolting the crowd into a clamorous frenzy of free-flowing dollars.
You can find Sutton Lee Seymour on Facebook and Instagram. She performs weekly in New York City at Broadway Mondays at Hardware Bar and on Saturdays at Albatross Bar in Astoria, Queens.
There are two upcoming Pink Eggs & Glam brunch shows in Connecticut: October 7 at The Social in New London and October 21 at the Nutmeg in East Windsor. Check skycasper.com for details.