She is large and in charge, chunky yet funky…and she’s about to make San Francisco audiences EAT IT yet again! The inimitable Latrice Royale will return to enthrall her adoring Bay Area fans with her most revealing performance yet: a one-woman show called “Here’s to Life.” Presented by Peaches Christ Productions, “Here’s to Life” will be performed by Ms. Royale at San Francisco’s Verdi Club on September 2nd and 3rd at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets and more information are available at PeachesChrist.com. Below, we chat with Latrice about the origins of this show and the secret to living your life more like she does: as a celebration.
The last time we spoke to you, it was about your role in Peaches Christ’s Sister Act show. How was that experience for you? <Latrice> Working with Peaches is one of the most professional experiences I have ever had. It was the first time I’d ever been a part of a production that large, much less as the lead character. I had dialogue on literally every page and had never done Whoopi as a character, but Peaches does such a great job of tailoring a part to the performer to make it really easy. We got to have a lot of fun because Peaches is so thorough in advance. Everyone knows what their job is supposed to be and they’re expected to do it—and they do it passionately! I love Willam, Mahlae Balenciaga, Kylie Minono, Sister Roma, and all those girls that were a part of it. I’m really looking forward to coming back and honored that Peaches is presenting my one-woman show!
Tell us about “Here’s to Life”—what is this show about? “Here’s to Life” is basically the story of my life. It’s about me growing up in and having to leave Compton, following my passion with color guard and dance, coming out, and the events leading up to my imprisonment. That was a really trying time, but people seem to benefit from me sharing it; it’s been a connecting thread for me and my audience. We laugh, we cry, we share, we heal. It’s about the struggles we all face and how we overcome them.
Your SF fans have seen you in bar/club performances and Peaches shows. How will this be different? I wanted to be doing something different for myself, and different than any other entertainer. So, finding out that I could actually sing live to some of the jazz standards that I’ve been lip-synching for years literally gave me a new voice to use as a performer. On top of that, I’ll have time, space, and focus to share more of myself with the audience than I can in a couple of lip-synch numbers at a bar.
What inspired you to write this show? As I started doing interviews after Drag Race, people had lots of questions about how I had grown up, how I got into drag, and especially why I went to jail and how I got through that time. I created “Here’s to Life” to be able to get more into the nitty-gritty of my story and share that with my audience. It seems to help people, including myself, feel less alone. And that’s pretty inspirational.
What are the pros and cons of performing a one-woman show? Don’t you mean pros and EX-cons? [Laughs.] Getting to share my story and see the impact it has is definitely at the top of the “pro” list. Knowing that people feel encouraged as they leave gives me a great deal of satisfaction. The cabaret bug has definitely bitten me. The appreciation from the audience is just so different. But it’s also a lot more work in certain ways. The biggest “con” so far has been doing two shows on the day you get the first case of food poisoning you’ve ever had in your life, which happened to me on my last trip to New York. No San Fran sushi for me!
Do you have any favorite one-woman shows that have inspired you? In terms of other entertainers from Drag Race, Jinkx and Alaska are really both frontrunners in this format, although there are plenty of drag acts that have done it before. But they mostly focus on a character rather than being biographical. I was inspired to do something a little different, something completely honest to me and my experience.
“Here’s to Life” is billed as ‘a celebratory journey.’ What is the biggest obstacle to celebration? The biggest obstacle is actually living your truth. Say what you mean and do what you say. We hold ourselves back from celebrating because we are spending energy being ashamed or worried or guilty or whatever. If you are really in your truth, that energy is freed up for whatever use you desire. But remember that sometimes the truth is ugly. It might not feel like a celebration all the time, but you can genuinely celebrate on the other side.
What do you think is the secret to looking at life as a celebration? Through my experiences, I’ve learned that life has a lot of lessons to offer. The biggest and hardest lessons are about yourself. Once you can fully embrace all your good, bad, and indifferent characteristics, you gain strength and the will to love yourself unconditionally. Then you’ll have the power to do whatever you want to do, because no one in the world can tell you about you better than you! So I celebrate life, because I’ve learned over the years about choices and perspectives. We choose our perspectives. And I choose to celebrate.
Peaches Christ Productions Proudly Presents
in her acclaimed one-woman show, a celebratory journey of song and story-tellng,
“HERE’S TO LIFE”
featuring the talents of Christopher Hamblin (piano), and Paul Eastburn (bass)
The Verdi Club, Friday September 2nd, and Saturday September 3rd, at 8pm.
The Verdi Club is located at 2424 Mariposa Street, between Potrero and Hampshire streets, in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District. The Verdi Club website (www.verdiclub.net) is full of great information about the venue’s history, directions, specifications, galleries and vendors. Check out this wonderful venue and community resource.
With the purchase of a VIP ticket, audience members are given priority seating (front four rows), as well as attendance to the meet and greet with Latrice, which takes place immediately following the show. These exclusively and limited VIP tickets are in short order, so be sure to get them before they sell out.
All tickets are Will Call, and can be picked up at the venue 90 minutes before the show begins. Doors at at 7pm for both shows.
*Featured image of Latrice by Jose Guzman Colon