It used to be—well back in the 1980s at least—that Joey Arias was one of New York’s best-kept secrets. His outrageous drag and cabaret performances—often channeling doomed jazz chanteuse Billie Holiday with uncanny accuracy—made him the talk of the town. Arias became a bit of a Gotham legend with noteworthy appearances with Klaus Nomi (the pair sang back-up for David Bowie on “SNL”) at the annual Wigstock drag festival and with his arch portrayal of Joan Crawford in a staged Christmas spoof of “Mommy Dearest.” Arias also took memorable turns in films like “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Love Julie Newmar” and “Big Top Pee-wee” as Shim, the half man/half woman. Eventually, even Manhattan got too small to hold Arias’ unique talents and the performer made the move to Las Vegas as the Mistress of Seduction at the adult-themed Cirque du Soleil show, Zumanity.
Now Arias is preparing to make a Los Angeles homecoming—he was raised here and was a founding member of the Groundlings comedy troupe—with an extended run at REDCAT of his new show, “Arias With a Twist.”
The “twist” in question is famed puppeteer Basil Twist (who is also collaborating with Pee-Wee Herman for his comeback shows). A “one person show” with six hidden puppeteers, “Arias With a Twist” seems sure not to disappoint Joey’s admirers. The show begins with Arias being probed by aliens while performing Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” before being ejected from their spacecraft and landing in a jungle. Costumes for the show were designed by Thierry Mugler and Chris March. The show, which just completed a run in Stockholm, has been nominated for a 2009 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.
“Arias With a Twist” runs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 13, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m.
(Added performance Nov. 24; No performance Nov. 26). Tickets: $35 to $40 [Students $28 to $32]. Call the REDCAT box office for more information (213) 237-2800 or visit www.redcat.org
Cross posting this from Brand X