The University of Connecticut Rainbow Center is holding its annual drag show on Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Jorgensen Performing Arts Center. 

The drag show is a staple event for the Rainbow Center, which is the cultural center representing the LGBTQIA+ community at UConn. Though usually held in the Student Union Theatre, this year marks the first time the show will be held in the Jorgensen Center, which has been a goal for organizers of the event. Moving to a large venue has tripled their capacity from 500 to 1,500 seats. 

This year’s drag show will be headlined by Throb Zombie, a professional drag performer known for appearing on season five of “The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula,” a drag competition show. 

In addition to Zombie and other surprise local, professional drag performers, this show will also feature three student drag performers, including two performers making their drag performance debut. 

Unlike drag shows hosted by the Rainbow Center of the past, this year’s show will follow a theme, titled “Cabinet of Curiosities,” which is a broadly-defined theme designed to showcase different sides of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“It’s supposed to showcase ways in which the queer community is marginalized but also the diversity and expression within the queer community,” said Alexa McCall Manh Udell, a senior at UConn performing under the name Alexxxa W. F. Starlight. 

Manh Udell explained that each student drag performer has the creative freedom to put together their set the way they want to. This includes selecting the music, choreographing their dance moves and designing their outfits and makeup.

“It’s a really great opportunity for creative expression,” said Manh Udell. “I put together my own music, the dance, my outfit and the routine.”

Another one of this year’s student drag performers, Summer Gaspard, a senior who is performing under the name SMR Couture, gave some hints about what her performance will feature without revealing too much. 

“I don’t want to spoil anything, of course, but I’m sort of going to be like a symbol of the rising sun, like waking up in the morning,” said Gaspard. 

Gaspard said that she believes that attending drag shows like the one hosted by the Rainbow Center is important to showcase queer expression and break the stigma that drag shows are something to be afraid of.

“I think it’s important to expose yourself to the drag art form and know that it’s not something to fear or protect people from, it’s literally just art and amazingness,” said Gaspard. “And I think it’s important to observe what [queer voices’ need to say in their form of expression and art.” 

In addition, the show also represents the community that the Rainbow Center creates for LGBTQIA+ students and the accepting environment it provides for students like Manh Udell.

“It’s been really great to have a space like the Rainbow Center where I can just come and hang out, feel safe, do work and be around people who are queer and allies and just relax and chill,” said Manh Udell. 

Tickets for the event are free for students and $5 for community members, faculty and staff and can be purchased online at the Jorgensen Center’s website. Doors open at 6:30 and the show is scheduled to last for approximately three hours.

For more information, visit the Rainbow Center’s website or Instagram page. 

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