This review of Latrice Royale: Why It Gotta Be White Christmas? at The Laurie Beechman Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 6 (2016) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
Latrice Royale: Why It Gotta Be White Christmas?
Written & Performed by Latrice Royale (Timothy K. Wilcots)
Musical Director: Christopher Hamblin
Special Guest: Kennedy Davenport
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Latrice Royale's fame and fan base are a result of her winning Miss Congeniality in Season 4 of Ru Paul's Drag Race. She was invited back to participate as a contestant in Ru Paul's Drag Race All-Stars and as a Professor in Ru Paul's Drag U. Big, Black, Bold & Beautiful, Latrice Royale hails from Compton, California where in her community, socks and underwear (practical gifts) were usually what was wrapped under the Christmas tree. The dearth of expensive presents was made up for by the volume of food prepared and served at the home of her aunt, who would "cook the house down." She says her family would "Eat, Nap, Eat & Eat Some More." Latrice Royale, an African-American brought up in a poor family headed by a single mom, said she has been accustomed to celebrating Black Christmases (she never saw snow until she moved to Wisconsin). However, she observed, "I grew up in Compton but looking at this audience, I can see I'm going to have a White Christmas this year!" Taking the stage wearing a stunning, shimmering Chocolate Sparkled Gown, Latrice Royale made the usual announcement regarding the taking of pictures during her show. She said, "You can take as many pictures as you like. I didn't get all dressed up for nothing!"
Explaining the importance of families we are born into and those we create, Latrice Royale shares her love, warmth, and unconditional acceptance of all who are in her life. After Wisconsin, she moved to South Florida "to be around people who accept your individuality and respect you for who you are - a true family who looks out for each other." She credited her Special Guest Star, Kennedy Davenport ("the epitome of never give up and never give in") for raising money for her when she got out of prison. Ms. Davenport finished in 4th Place in Season 7 of Ru Paul's Drag Race. She was absolutely hilarious playing the character of Sister Merlene Watkins (The Church Lady who wore white athletic socks and Crocs and kept the tags on her clothing so she can return the items after wearing them). Besides singing "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire," Sister Merlene reported, "I had to lay hands on someone in the bathroom. As a Christian lady, my work is never done." I was very impressed with her talent and comedic abilities.
I think the show could have used a few more Christmas songs, a better script, and a little less background music, which incessantly played whenever Latrice Royale spoke. Nevertheless, Latrice Royale: Why It Gotta Be White Christmas was entertaining and enjoyable. Instead of trashing Trump, I would have liked to have seen Latrice express her love for the President-elect and offer to perform her show for him and his family. That would have been more in tune with her message of unconditional love. At the end of the show, Latrice Royale tells the audience, "Go home and do whatever the hell you like. Because this is your life!" She expressed her belief in a higher power and said, "Don't be discouraged. It's going to be alright." She closed her show with her signature line, "Remember that I love you and there ain't nothing you can do about it!"