Island City Stage’s “Pageant” Will Have the Audience in Tears

Contestants enviously welcome last year’s Miss Glamouresse on stage, moments before finding out whether they’ll be crowned as the new winner. 

If you are looking for a hilarious and suspenseful way to spend your night, then buy yourself a ticket to Pageant at Island City Stage. As described on their website, this show can most definitely be described as “A Miss America Competition Meets RuPaul’s Drag Race!” Not only will this show have you invested in every character and secretly wishing for your favorite to win, but it will also have you gasping for air from all the laughing you’ll be doing.

From the costumes and accessories picked out for each actor, to the artistic choices of the actors made to bring their character to life, it is obvious the amount of effort and talent that was put into Pageant the musical.

The set of the show is made up of four golden half-arches that adorn the front half of the stage, with a full arch hovering above the place where the contestants stand and walk down the steps. The house is directly in front of the stage, with almost no separation between the actors  and the audience, which creates more of an intimate setting and the feel of being in the story. Soft pink lighting matches the color of the walls and floor, which is appealing to the eye.

Though a simple set and lack of scenery change could potentially lose the focus of viewers and create boredom, the cast and crew did not leave any room for that to happen.  Even having keyboard and drums as the only instruments to carry the show when tracks weren’t being used was done very specifically, such as when the drums play the “gunshot” noises for Contestant Miss Texas, played by Conor Walton, and when Contestant Miss Bible Belt, played by Christopher Calhoun, belted with the piano in a precise moment incorporating the music with the actor’s choices made for an entertaining and well-thought-out show. The cast and crew worked together flawlessly to bring to life a story in an effortless way.

[Photographed by Matthew Tippins]

Adding on to the precise choices made, every step and movement of the choreography, brilliantly choreographed and directed by Ron Hutchins, performed on stage was purposeful and intentional. The stage was smaller than would be ideal for a musical where dancing is involved. This, however, didn’t stop the cast from showing off their talent. They still proved they were the definition of triple-threat talents. Not only did they kill their choreography, but each actor had a strong vibrato and powerful belt. While dancing and moving around, their voices remained on pitch and beautifully projected into the house.

Every single actor brought their character to life in a unique way. From Matthew Buffalo’s phenomenal job at bringing to life not just one, but two hilarious and grounded characters, Miss West Coast and Miss Glamouresse, to Conor Walton’s artistic choice of presenting Miss Texas’s comedic petty attitude at not winning the crown at the October 22nd show, audience members will find themselves growing attached to the characters and cheering them all on to win.

Michael Scott Ross as Miss Deep South [Photographed by Matthew Tippins]

If everything you’ve read so far wasn’t convincing enough, then I’ll leave you with one last reason. Every single show will have a different winner. no matter if you attend the show once, twice, or five times, you’ll get the suspense of not knowing who will walk home with the crown. If you get lucky enough, you might end up with the power of choosing the winner. Each show will offer a unique and unforgettable experience.

Pageant runs at Island City stage until November 20th. The cost for tickets is $50. You won’t want to miss out on this hilarious hit of a musical!

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