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BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

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The popular drag artist known for her Judy Garland illusion finds a home in a new venue.

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

Peter Allen once advised us all to be Quiet, Please, There's a Lady On Stage but it is simply not possible to be quiet when Gloria Swansong is working because the sheer force of energy and talent she brings to the room is so exciting that you just want to cheer and applaud. Of course, the sound of Judy Garland echoing through the room also makes you want to jump for joy... and then there is the matter of the ambiance at The Q.

The Q is a brand new bar in Midtown Manhattan, conveniently located at 48th Street and 8th Avenue, one block from the subway, with other MTA lines and Times Square nearby. The Q is, ostensibly, a gay bar but these days doors to entertainment venues are (and should be) open to any and everyone; indeed, the crowd at The Q last night was quite a diverse one, and whatever the patrons' various demographics, they all had certain things in common: they were all beautiful and happy and celebrating a chance to be out with friends, having a good time. A large part of the good time they were having came from a tiny little stage near the ground-floor bar - a stage where live performance is currently happening throughout the week.

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q As you enter The Q, the first thing you notice is that the ambiance is elegant and chic in a sufficiently Metropolitan way, with black and white checked floor and glowing chandeliers, high ceilings, and seating off to one side - it is not, though, so elegant that a boy, girl, or anyone living outside of the gender-conforming boundaries would feel uncomfortable hanging out in shorts and a tank top. The decor and the mood are perfectly balanced for patrons who prefer the pretty and guests who go for gutsy. It's as come-as-you-are as a club can be when it has three floors of entertainment to offer. Last night, the upper floors were not open... at least not as early as 8 pm, when Gloria Swansong was due to take her act up on the stage. And when she did, the already lively crowd went from relaxing comfortable as they imbibed cold drinks with old friends (or new ones, as the bar scene goes) to being all smiles and excitement for one of the city's popular drag artists.

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q Gloria Swansong presents different types of shows in her work as a drag artist but whatever the venue, the theme of the act, or the look of the characters, she always leads with the glamour of the bygone Hollywood screen. Her specialty is Judy Garland and when she does her Garland act, she is a lip-sync artist who is extremely funny when talking to the audience in between musical numbers, keeping it Garland-Esque but keeping it real, using present-day humor and vernacular to make people laugh until her next lip-sync. Her artistry is not restricted to her performing, though, for Gloria Swansong makes all her own clothes, and when she is on the stage serving up Judy, the resemblance is uncanny. No, Gloria Swansong does not look like Judy Garland. The structure of her face, compared to Frances Gumm's, is not similar. It is not the job of a drag queen or female impersonator to look like the celebrity they are presenting. Their job is to make an audience spellbound with an illusion, one made even more remarkable by the knowledge that it is, indeed, an illusion. Through careful study of Judy Garland's mannerisms, by meticulously recreating her fashion, and by enlisting her sister, Maxie Factor, to rebuild, to perfection, Judy's hairstyles, Gloria Swansong does her job, and then some. With one beveled leg firmly in the past and the other planted in the present, she makes herself and her artistry available for everyone's enjoyment, excitement, and, in a way, enlightenment. It would not be difficult to imagine that many of the guests at The Q left last night with their iPhone programmed onto the Judy Garland Spotify station... and if it keeps Judy in our collective minds for even five minutes more than would have been, it's been a good day for Gloria Swansong.

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q
Andy Starling as Marilyn Monroe and Gloria Swansong as Judy Garland
BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q
Max Rut

When Gloria appears at The Q, she always brings a guest - someone to entertain the crowd while she makes a costume change - and she does make a costume change because she's a professional. It is in Gloria Swansong's artistic mission statement to give the people a full drag experience, and that cannot happen without a look change. When Gloria opened at The Q three weeks ago, she brought along everyone's new religion, Mason Alexander Park; this week she brought along Andy Starling as Marilyn Monroe. It's worth it to head over The Q once a week just to see Gloria, but a guest star is always an enticing cherry on the cake of a live performance, one which (by the way) has no cover charge. The artists work for tips, either cash or by digital means, as was the case with the pianist, Max Rut, who was performing with his sax-playing Dad just before the Garland show. One hopes that all The Q crowds are as generous as the one last night that kept handing Ms. Swansong bills for her incredibly entertaining efforts. She certainly earned it.

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

Frankie Sharp, the man behind The Q, said, in an email to Broadway World, "There's SO much fun cabaret, Broadway star shows, drag, and live music events to talk about!" and this writer has scheduled a phone call to learn more about the new club and what it has to offer. A glance at The Q website HERE shows listings for stand-up comedy, drag, music, and more, including shows from activist and entertainer Marti Gould Cummings, Broadway's Michelle Dowdy and Piano Man Extraordinaire Drew Wutke, and Wednesday night's piano lounge from James Oblak and Gloria Swansong's usual Tuesday night gig at 8 pm. It looks like The Q arrived just in time because some of the city's nightclubs, cabaret rooms, and dance floors are no longer, and to have a venue that offers three stories of entertainment (and one block from the subway!) will be a blessing and a boon to everyone seeking even just a little bit of fun in a changed world that really needs it.

The Q website is HERE

The Gloria Swansong Twitter page is HERE and Instagram is HERE

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

BWW Review: Gloria Swansong's Weekly JUDY GARLAND Show Livens Up A Night Out In A New Club Called THE Q

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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