It’s DeLa with a D, not Ben with a B, and she won’t let you forget it.
On May 23, Christie, Danielle and I went to see BenDeLaCreme (RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6) in her debut solo show, “Terminally Delightful!” at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theater. Just a few episodes into Season 6, we had DeLa pegged as a front runner in the competition. Although she didn’t make it to the Top 3 as we (and, I think, many other Drag Race fans) had hoped, she was in the Top 5, and ended up winning Miss Congeniality during the May 19 finale.
“Terminally Delightful!” proved exactly why this perpetually perky queen received her title: DeLa is truly a treasure, as she frequently calls her fans, both on and off the stage (we had the pleasure and privilege of meeting her after the show, but we’ll come back to that).
The most wonderful thing about this show was its perfect balance of camp, cleverness and raw emotion. It mixed musical theater, character acting and self-deprecating humor that allowed the audience to see both Ben and DeLa (two very, very different people, as Drag Race viewers know) in a way that LOGO wasn’t able to do.
Without giving too much of the show away, “Terminally Delightful!” showcases DeLa’s versatility and talent through song, dance and comedy. There was live singing (including an opening number written by Jinkx Monsoon’s “Vaudevillians” partner-in-crime Major Scales, and an excellent rap parody performed by “Creminem”), lip syncing, a burlesque routine, and a “ballet” featuring Kitten LaRue and Lou Henry Hoover of Kitten ‘N Lou. My favorite segment, however, was the hilarious video viewer calls from “fans” (aka a pre-recorded DeLa dressed up as various characters she created). While Dame Maggie Smith did not make an appearance, DeLa did pay homage to her Drag Race experience with a spot-on Michelle Visage look, and a character based on one of her fellow competitors. I won’t drop names, but the audience was just about falling out of their chairs laughing by the final “OKURRRR!”.
When we met DeLa, I told that she nearly had me in tears—both from laughing so hard and from all the emotions “Terminally Delightful!” was able to evoke from its viewers. On or off-Broadway, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that so perfectly captures what it means to slap on a smile and not only mask your pain, but learn from it. Let’s just say that, if Ru had seen this show before choosing the Top 3, I think things would have turned out differently.
If you’re in the NYC area and you want to see this fabulous variety show, Laurie Beechman will be hosting an encore run from August 21 to 25. Get your tickets at Spin Cycle NYC.
PS: DeLa told us we were the best front and center table ever. I hope we can hold that title!