Review: Latrice Royale "Here's To Life" Minneapolis Show

Latrice Royale returns to the Twin Cities to deliver an intimate, cabaret-style retelling of her life story.

A little background on Latrice Royale and her history with Minneapolis. I have seen dozens of RuPaul’s Drag Race queens live, but no other queen gets the audience reactions Latrice Royale does. Latrice was here in Minneapolis at the iconic First Avenue nightclub for Grown & Sexy Pride last June. Latrice told me she believes that was her first Minneapolis appearance.

My mom, my husband, a couple of my best friends and I were all at that show, and the crowd was insane. Granted, it was the historic day that gay marriage was legalized throughout the entire United States, so the audience came ready to party. No shade, but it was a very standard drag show. Club setting. Standing room only. Lipsyncing, dancing, and fabulous makeup, hair, and costumes. However, Latrice Royale is anything but basic, and delivered energetic, crowd-pleasing numbers.

Last night’s show drew the same huge crowd responses, but was in a vastly different setting, The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts. Polished. Classy. Uniformed ushers showing you to your seats. Definitely not a nightclub!

The crowd felt like a veritable who’s-who of the Twin Cities gay community, with several guests recognizing and catching up with each other. It’s amazing how a universal love of the drag art form and RuPaul’s Drag Race connects our community.

The show started on time with no-frills entrance by Latrice Royale, who simply sauntered on the stage to shattering applause. The gays love her. The stage setting was simple; chairs for Latrice, and a few-piece band with piano accompaniment by her man Christopher, “the love of [her] life.”

A very emotional show. You could hear and see audience members moved to tears several times. I don’t want to spoil the details of specific, devastating stories from her life. You really need to come in to it as fresh as possible. Latrice said that the show is meant to take you on an emotional journey, and each person will need it for a different reason. She was right.

By the same token, it was a hilarious show and Latrice didn't have to try hard whatsoever to get laughs. Huge crowd reactions came naturally. Everyone was there for a good time.

Great music! I was delighted by her fully live vocal performance. Her vocal range isn't Aguilerian but her voice is better than almost all the RDPR queens out there. So deep and soulful. She called herself Barry White in a dress. Never sounded like she was limiting herself or struggling. Well trained. Left me very excited to buy her debut CD Here’s to Life when it comes out next week.

The show was admittedly light on songs and heavy on storytelling. However, that’s not a read. It was a great decision, one which made each song more special and the lyrics more meaningful. You could tell the music was curated with a perfectionist’s hand, with songs chosen to start at the exact right moments.

Latrice’s costume changes happened on stage. She wore a multilayered outfit, each layer sparklier than the previous. She mostly switched out which decadent shawl she was wearing. The one costume change that required her to stop talking to the audience to complete probably would have worked better off stage. That would have given the band time to show off a little more of their talents.

The show was a great length. I did not time it, but it felt just right, leaving you feeling satisfied but hopeful she'll tell more of her life story in the future. It would certainly make a fantastic film or memoir.

At any show I go to I always listen to the crowd as I walk out, and there's always at least one or two negative comments. None for this show. Everyone was on the same page. The show truly was a revelation.

After the show, there was a meet and greet for guests with premium tickets in the lobby. It was my first time meeting Latrice. Of the several Ru girls I’ve met, none have been as genuinely sweet and kind as miss Royale. She was very kind and loving toward my mother, who is a massive Latrice fan. Mom had a great night and couldn't stop saying as much, which really warmed my heart on a chilly March night.

You simply don’t know Latrice until you see this show. Catch it in your city soon:

Chicago, tonight:

New York, next week:

Who's your favorite drag queen? Let me know on social media.

I'm @DerekPlease on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Inspiration Board: Max Emerson

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