Dina Martina

Dina Martina stars in her first full-length show at The Broward Center

Cult sensation makes her debuts in Fort Lauderdale on April 11

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is no stranger to drag queens and the LGBT community and next week will be no exception. After years developing a cult following around the globe, comedienne Dina Martina will make her Fort Lauderdale debut on Tuesday, April 11 in one show only at 8 p.m.

Tragic singer, horrible dancer and surreal raconteur, the hysterically funny Dina Martina debuted at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art in 1989, instantly gleaning reviews that dubbed her “magically warped,” “utter genius,” and “unwittingly hilarious.”  Since then, she’s packed venues in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and London, and shared the bill with acts ranging from Alan Cumming to Nina Hagen to Margaret Cho.

Hailed as: “The most original drag performer working in America today” by Michael Musto of the Village Voice. Recently, Martina’s hugely successful shows in New York and Provincetown have made ardent fans of the likes of John Waters (“Dina Martina goes way beyond drag into some new kind of twisted art.”) and Whoopi Goldberg (“Performance art never looked so good!”) Martina has received nominations for the Alpert Award in Theater and two GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Off-Off Broadway Theater.  She’s received two Seattle Times Footlight Awards and the Stranger’s 2012 Genius Award for Theater.

Absolutely packed with ludicrous song, horrifying dance, overburdened costumes and sidesplitting video, Dina Martina’s shows are impossible to describe – other than that they’ve become synonymous with jaw-dropping pathos and mind-blowing comedy.

It was a pleasure to sit down with Martina, just 10 days before her first time performing a full length show in Fort Lauderdale.

What was the first live performance you attended?

Well I was very fortunate to have grown up in Las Vegas, so I pretty much had the cream of the drawer of Show Business right there at my fingertips. I wasn’t born in Vegas but I was breaded there, and my mother took me to see Henny Youngman at Caesar’s Palace when I was about six and I was immediately hooked when I heard his trademark “Take my veal – please / Try my wife, she’s here all week” bit.

When was the first time you performed and what was that experience like?

Oh gosh, there’ve been so many firsts for me being in the spotlight. At 17, I was the first person ever diagnosed with Dutch Elm disease, but I’m currently in remission. I was also the first fashion model for the Braille edition of Vogue. But the first time I was ever onstage was when I won the Young Miss Las Vegas Pageant when I was four, and that was a very special experience. I still have the dress I wore that night and I’m hoping to let the seams out and wear it in Ft. Lauderdale.

How did you get into Show Business?

After I stepped down from a year as Young Miss Las Vegas, my mother got me into doing TV commercials, mostly for baby shampoos and sugary cereals, but I was also the original Johnson’s Thumbtacks Girl – yet another first! Somebody please tell me, how do I do it?

I understand you have a daughter. What’s she like?

Her name is Phoebe and she really shines. I adopted her right after I put my last pet down. Children just last so much longer, you know? More bang for your buck. I wish I could bring her to Ft. Lauderdale but I already have two carry-ons. It’s probably for the best though, because if I ever lost her in an airport I think I’d be sad. I’d also probably get into a lot of trouble, ’cause boy, they really don’t like it when you lose the adopted ones.

Do you have any mentors/inspirations?

Soupy Sales was a mentor to me. I realize a lot of your readers might be too young to know who Soupy Sales was, so for them, I’ll just say he was a lot like Mort Sahl. I met Soupy when I was only six and my mother cocktailed the graveyard shift at Caesar’s. She worked from 11 p.m. – 7 a.m. and she didn’t want to leave me home all alone, so she had me stand outside in front of the casino all night, selling juice and cotton balls. As for inspirations, Jonathan & Darlene Edwards are favorites, as are Mrs. Miller and Liberace. I love me some Korla Pandit and I’ve always been in awe of Dora Hall. Sally Struthers springs to mind. Well, she doesn’t really spring to mind; she’s a little slower than that. She lumbers to mind.

What should the South Florida audiences expect from your full length show?

Unfortunate song stylings, pathos-laden stories, hilarious videos and tremendously overburdened costumes. So basically, a lot of filler. I used to do the Chinese splits a lot in my shows, but I don’t recover from those quite well as I used to. Plus, it’s hard to find enough men to spot me.

What’s ahead for Dina? 

Well I’m a classically-trained gymnast, so I’ll be working on my dismount a lot. And I also plan on watching a fair amount of TV because I think it’s really important to support the Arts. I also have a theater group that tours retirement homes, and we’re currently revving up a production of Bedpans & Broomsticks.

Dina will be performing on Tuesday, April 11 at the Amaturo Theater at The Broward Center at 8 p.m. Tickets are $26.50  and can be purchased at: BrowardCenter.org