Arts & EntertainmentStage

‘Prepare for the Slayage’

RuPaul’s Drag Race queens bring Werq the World Tour to Houston.

By Lourdes Zavaleta

Following a 16-city European tour and a run of 13 sold-out North American shows, the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race finally bring their Werq the World Tour to Houston on February 7.

Season 2 star Shangela Laquifa Wadley, a Texas native who is part of the tour, tells OutSmart that fans of the show have never seen anything quite like Werq the World. “Prepare for the slayage,” says Wadley, who will soon compete for the crown again in All Stars 3. “I hope y’all pin your weaves in tight, because my goal is to snatch everyone in the building bald.”

Hosted by Drag Race judge Michelle Visage, the show will feature performances by some of the series’ most unforgettable stars, including Wadley, Kim Chi, Detox, Latrice Royale, Peppermint, Valentina, and season 7 winner Violet Chachki.

The Houston show, originally set for the Wortham Center in October, was rescheduled and moved to Jones Hall following Tropical Storm Harvey in August.

Wadley says that with each extension of the tour, visual and mechanical components are modified and expanded to maximize the audience experience. Following the European tour, producers enhanced technical aspects of the show and doubled the number of backup dancers. “I want everybody who’s excited to get super-excited,” Wadley says. “This is a full-on production.”

The tour has been on pause since the end of November, and the Houston show will take place just days before the queens embark on a swing through Latin America.

Produced by Voss Events in collaboration with VH1 and World of Wonder, the tour’s shows are being held in larger venues and on stages with JumboTron screens, giving performances a concert-style feel.

Jones Hall will allow audience members to watch Werq the World from the comfort of their seats, with great views from anywhere in the theater. This will be a new experience for Houston Drag Race fans who may be accustomed to crowding around South Beach’s small stage at 1 a.m. when a Drag Race queen visits the city.

The Werq the World Tour, which features talent from five different seasons of the show, might even top War on the Catwalk, a season 9 reunion tour that stopped in Houston in September.

Wadley says Werq the World participants were selected based on live-performance ability and how well they interact with fans. “We selected queens who love to entertain,” Wadley says. “We also kept in mind queens who love their fans and are really in touch with [them]. This is a great opportunity for the girls to get in front of their fans in a different way.”

The set list for Werq the World includes Kim Chi lip-syncing to Korean pop in animé-inspired clothing and makeup, Valentina Salsa dancing in traditional Mexican garb, and Violet Chachki doing her burlesque act.

Wadley says the performers empathize with Houston fans who were affected by Harvey, and they plan to make a donation to the Montrose Center’s LGBTQ Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Brandon Voss, the show’s producer, has even promised to match his cast’s donations to the Center. “As important as it is to keep Houston in our thoughts, there is a call to action here. We want to be involved,” Wadley says.

“Houston loves entertainment,” she adds. “I mean, it’s the home of Beyoncé. We can’t be anything less than super-fabulous.”

What: Rupaul’s Drag Race Werq the World Tour
When: February 7, 9 p.m.
Where: Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana Street


Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is the managing editor of OutSmart magazine.
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