Outlandish Performance Series Presents
The First Wives Club
Experience a live, musical parody mash-up of the now-cult-classic films, First Wives Club and Fight Club. You’ve never seen (or heard!) anything like it. Starring the gorgeous and indelible talents of Nina West and Brooke Lynn Hytes (fan favorites from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11), as well as Varla Jean Merman & Peaches Christ, The first rule of the First Wives Fight Club is to TELL EVERYBODY!
Below you will find a short Bio on each performer and then they each answered the question: How did you get involved in First Wives club and are you excited about the performance in Fort Lauderdale?
Brooke Lynn Hytes – Equal parts ballerina, showgirl, and 90’s supermodel, Brooke Lynn Hytes is drag perfection – personified. The Toronto native received her dance training at the National Ballet School of Canada and in 2008, she traveled worldwide performing as a principal ballerina with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – an all-male drag ballet company. Brooke Lynn then set her sights on the world of drag, winning multiple Canadian pageants and the coveted Miss Continental crown in the US in 2014. Brooke Lynn was honored to be the first Canadian to appear on cultural phenomenon, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Hytes has cemented her place in history as the first drag queen to be tweeted by Canada’s official Twitter account, and has also been featured on The Social, The Morning Show, ETalk, ET Canada, Vogue.Com, Refinery29, Huffington Post, Global News, Now, Dance Magazine, Billboard, MTV News and the cover of New York Magazine, to name a few. 2020 shows no sign of slowing down with Brooke Lynn being announced as a permanent judge on Canada’s drag race.
“I was first approached by Peaches Christ to be in FWFC last year and I JUMPED at the opportunity! I’m so lucky to be working alongside such legends and I’m so excited to get my fight on in Fort Lauderdale.”
Nina West – West hosts the annual “Heels of Horror” show at Axis Nightclub, and has also hosted the competition “So You Think You Can Drag?” In 2008, she won the Entertainer of the Year award; her ensemble later inspired the singer Sia’s outfit at the 2016 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. West was included in Columbus Business First’s “40 Under 40” list in 2018. Levitt worked as a social media strategist for Axis Nightclub as of 2018 and has done social media and marketing for Union Cafe since 2013.
West competed in the eleventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and a Street in Columbus has been “The Nina West Way” in her honor. She starred in Coaster, an animated short film directed and produced by Amos Sussigan and Dan Lund, and attended the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, where she became the first person to walk the purple carpet in full drag. West was announced as part of the cast for the first ever season of RuPaul’s Celebrity Drag Race, a Drag Race spin-off where Drag Race alumni transform celebrities into Drag Queens, premiering in 2020.
“Brooke Lynn had already done First Wives Fight Club with Peaches in San Francisco. So when Fort Lauderdale came up, Peaches asked Brooke Lynn if I would be interested. I didn’t even have to think about it, and I said YES!!! To be part of a Peaches Christ show is a great honor! And this one has Varla Jean Merman in it too! Fort Lauderdale has the greatest audiences, so I can’t wait to come out fighting!”
Varla Jean Merman – Jeffery Roberson (aka Varla Jean Merman) starred in the new musical Lucky Guy opposite Leslie Jordan in NY at the Little Schubert in spring 2011 prompting The New York Times to rave, “If Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman had stood in front of the right pair of funhouse mirrors, they might have resembled Ms. Merman and Mr. Jordan in stature as well as comedic talent”.
He guest starred as Varla Jean on Ugly Betty, was also featured on Bravo’s Project Runway Season 5, and played the role of Mary Sunshine in the revival of Chicago on Broadway. He made his network television debut on All My Children in the recurring role of lady of the evening Rosemary Chicken. He shared the Outfest Film Festival “Best Actor” Award and the Aspen HBO Film Festival “Best Actress” Award with his costars Jack Plotnick and Clinton Leupp for his featured performance in the cult classic film Girls Will Be Girls (Sundance 2003) directed by Richard Day. Varla Jean has filled cabarets and concert halls across the world including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Theater, London’s Soho Theatre and LA’s Renberg Theatre.
“I’ve known who Peaches was for many years and have been a huge fan of her outrageous and successful movie parodies. After working together in Ptown a few years ago, we decided to collaborate on our own parody. We came up with “The Whining,” based on Stephen King’s “The Shining” but about two queens who spend the winter in Provincetown. It was such a huge success that we decided to do another parody.
Peaches has such an incredible knack for finding movies that have a huge cult following and thus appeal to a huge audience, and we discussed “The First Wives Club.” While watching, we focused on a scene where Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and Diane Keaton get into a huge physical fight, including slapping, punching, and Oscars being thrown. “The First Wives Fight Club” was born.
The challenge was finding a way to “mash-up” a frothy, campy chick-flick romp with a dark, disturbing, testosterone-fueled psycho-drama. But we loved every minute of writing it. We share the same comic sensibilities, so it was easier than it may sound!
I am so excited to share the stage with Peaches in this show, because we did separate productions, one west coast, one east coast, that year. Fort Lauderdale allows us to share the piece we wrote with each other, but also include the amazing talents of Brooke Lynn Hytes and Nina West. These girls may be “new school” queens, but they both have years of training as “old school” hoofers, and have the chops to put on a full play with one day of rehearsal. Outlandish usually does solo shows, so we are so thrilled they decided to do something different and have a play as part of their season!”
Peaches Christ –Peaches Christ is a filmmaker and cult leader living in SF. Her infamous movie events are self-produced at the Castro Theatre and regularly draw over 1,000 attendees to each new production before they tour. Events have featured special guest stars John Waters, Cloris Leachman, Bruce Campbell, Barry Bostwick, Pam Grier, and more.
Peaches is the alter- ego of Joshua Grannell, the writer and director of the feature film All About Evil. The award-winning dark comedy gore film stars Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Cassandra Peterson, Mink Stole, and Peaches Christ. Peaches has been featured in the films Milk, I Am Divine, Diary Of A Teenage Girl, Mansfield 66/67, Tura!, and more. Visit Peacheschrist.com to stay up to date on her latest projects and upcoming shows.
“Varla Jean Merman and I had previously co-written and co-starred in a parody of The Shining called The Whining, which ended up being a big success in both Provincetown and San Francisco so we decided we wanted to co-write another theatre piece together and came up with this mash-up idea. I really love working with Varla and think we make a great writing team, but what’s odd about this particular show is that we’ve both appeared in different versions of it, never together. I was in the show that played San Francisco and Los Angeles and Varla did the show that had a big Provincetown run. So, for me, this Fort Lauderdale show at Outlandish is super special because it will be the first time that she and I have been able to be in the show together– which was our original intention. We have a bunch of scenes together and in a weird way play the same character. It will also be the first time I’ve been able to work with Nina West and I’m huge fan. I can’t wait!”
Tickets to the Outlandish Performance Series “The First Wives Club,” start at as low as $35, but for $65 you can get a VIP ticket which includes front and center seating plus post show meet and greet with all four artists.