Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of The Ginger Minj & Friends Christma-Hannu-Kwanzaa-Ka Spectacular at The Laurie Beechman Theatre by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of The Ginger Minj & Friends Christma-Hannu-Kwanzaa-Ka Spectacular at The Laurie Beechman Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

The Ginger Minj & Friends Christma-Hannu-Kwanzaa-Ka Spectacular
Written & Performed by Joshua Eads-Brown
Starring Michael Kirk Lane, Janine Klein & Heather Barbour
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Reviewed 10/13/15  

Ginger Minj (Joshua Eads-Brown), who competed in the 7th season of RuPaul's Drag Race for the title of America's Next Drag Superstar, introduced herself in the premiere as an "overweight, asthmatic, chain-smoking, cross-dresser from Orlando." She routinely works at Hamburger Mary's and Parliament House in Orlando, Ultra Lounge in Cocoa Village, and as an actor in Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show on International Drive. Ginger Minj has long reigned as The Comedy Queen Of The South, with pageant titles including Miss Gay United States 2013 and Miss National Comedy Queen 2012. Before becoming Ginger Minj, Josh Eads-Brown was a child actor starring in a series of Christian movies and books on tape, and even won a Best Actor Award for the State of Florida in 2002. I missed her last show in New York City entitled Ginger Minj: Crossdresser For Christ - The Musical, A Drag Queen Confessional but I am glad I caught this one. 

If you are easily offended and committed to enforcing political correctness in the speech of others, I warn you not to enter the Haus of Minj where lesbians are expected to be sitting in the back of the theater "just in case someone's car breaks down." Ginger Minj says her show is intended "to celebrate everyone, no matter what their beliefs are, all while poking fun & having a good time" and in this regard, she succeeds in spades. Speaking of spades, Ginger and her merry crew blast Kwanzaa as a "bullshit holiday" that has only one song. Her friends, Michael Kirk Lane (a representative of the Master Race & a Christian), Janine Klein (a Jew waiting for "The Man With The Bag" (of cocaine)), and Heather Barbour (an African-American who comes on stage wearing a white sheet while Ginger sings "White Christmas") pile on claiming that blacks don't need another holiday. They already have Black Friday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Black History Month (February) even though it is the shortest and coldest month of the year. It turns out poor Ms. Barbour never intended to represent a racist KKK member and instead simply wanted to be the Ghost of Christmas Past. Later in the show, someone else appears wearing a blue sheet representing The Ghost of Hanukkah Presents (representing Hanukkah and the many presents given over the course of the holiday) and eventually someone comes out wearing a black sheet representing The Ghost of Kwanzaa Future. That last person wanted to be The Ghost of Kwanzaa Past, but complained she was running on CPT (Colored People's Time). She was also supposed to read her script but had trouble seeing out of her hole.

Christmas is referred to as an "anal," instead of an annual, holiday. The Jewish celebrant of Hanukkah not only snorts cocaine but also chugs Manischewitz Concord Grape Wine right out of the bottle. Ginger Minj sings Frosty The Snowman, mentioning that the lyrics, in her opinion, suggest Frosty is a pedophile. The White Aryan representative takes offense when the two women start to complain about prior oppression and subjugation. He calls them "bitches" and says, "Sorry, was I supposed to check my white privilege at the door!" Ginger Minj was well-dressed and I particularly liked her Hanukkah dress and bow displaying a pattern of lights and Stars of David. She may have bought this dress at Target, which she said "everyone knows is just Walmart for white people." The only criticism I have is that the show was too short and that whoever applied her lipstick with a broad "shit-color" as an outline around her red lipstick should reconsider their profession. It looked as if Ginger recently placed her mouth in a place where the sun doesn't usually shine. It was quite disturbing, as was a totally wasted straight guy named Jerry, who constantly interrupted the show making comments and singing along with the performers. A stern warning by Ginger "to shut the fuck up" and even Janine throwing white powder on him didn't stop his antics (and the staff of The Laurie Beechman Theatre took no action either).

The only thing left out of the show was a rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear" with Ginger Minj playing Helen Keller. They thought that was the one that might have pushed them over the line. Instead, the show ended with "525,600 Minutes" from the musical Rent, where the question is asked "how do you measure a year" (in Seasons of Love) and "how do you measure the life of a woman who's a man." Donations were solicited for Dancers Responding To AIDS and Ginger Minj closed the show saying, "If Minj can look this good, there's no excuse for ugly women."

I was extremely impressed with the talent of Ginger Minj, Michael Lane Kirk, Janine Klein, and Heather Barbour. All are top-notch, high-quality performers with strong stage presences and a total dedication to playing their part to bring maximum pleasure to the audience members. They basically took the idea of a traditional Christmas pageant and turned it on its head in a celebration of life and the curative qualities of laughter. Minj is magnificent! For more information about Ginger Minj, visit http://gingerminj.com/

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