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Drake University Theatre People’s Queer Kid Caberet: An outlet for queer voices on campus

Photo by Meghan Holloran | Staff Writer

The Queer Kid Caberet featured 11 performances from members of Drake’s LGBTQ community on Sunday evening at the Turner Jazz Center located in Drake’s Fine Arts Center. 

Acting major Emma Grace Bradly pitched the idea for the event and also performed during the cabaret. The cabaret featured spoken word poetry and songs performed by members of the LGBTQ community. The cabaret was put together by Drake Theatre people in an effort to uplift and give the queer community a space of their own. 

“Our theater department is dripping with pride and queer kids, and so we haven’t really had any event to really showcase and celebrate that from our students,” Bradley said. 

Growing up, Bradley did not see herself represented in the media, and loved “Beauty and the Beast” when she was younger. Bradley sang “If I can’t love her,” from “Beauty and the Beast,” finally creating the representation she wishes she saw growing up. 

“I have been wanting to sing that song forever. Because it was the song that I loved as a kid and and because I love Beauty and the Beast, but I never identified with Belle; it was the Beast,” Bradley said. “Singing that made me feel, like, really really good.”  

Miclo Cuahtemoc Gonzalez, who also performed during the cabaret, agrees with Bradley on the lack of queer representation in the media. 

“I think that queer identities are something that aren’t well-represented within media, even within the theater, which I think is a very queer media, especially from outlookers,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not really well represented and what is represented are stereotypes, like Damian from Mean Girls.”

Gonzalez identifies with the LGBTQ community and is Latinx. He is working to diversify the queer narrative and break out of these stereotypes.

“I like throwing my hat into the ring, not because I feel like my stories are necessary, but I like telling my own story because I’d like to think that it inspires people to tell their own,” Gonzalez said.  

Both Bradley and Gonzalez explained which artists inspire them to be who they are and present themselves authentically. For Bradley, the artist is Broadway performer Billy Porter, and her performance reflected that inspiration.  

“Often, Black singers are the ones that inspire me because they are very, very outspoken about who they are,” Bradley said. “And I just love that. I channeled my reverse Billy Porter; I wore a suit instead of a dress. He did the opposite.”

For Gonzalez, Kesha has had a huge influence on who they are and how they carry themselves. Gonzalez sang Kesha’s “Rainbow,” during the Queer Kid Caberet, and said it is their anthem and gives them hope. 

“It’s hard to remember you and your identity and where you are now, and I love that song because I listen to it and I’m just reminded that no matter what, my rainbow and these colors will always be true to me,” Gonzalez said. 

The cabaret could not have been successful without the help of Drake Theater People (DTP). Although there were a few hiccups with sound during the performances, the show was very well-received. 

“I attended the cabaret to support my friends and the queer community at Drake. I think it’s great that they get to perform in a venue like this,” said Griffin Snow, an audience member who watched the cabaret.  

Gonzalez said they had so much fun participating in the caberet and they want future queer caberets to be more widley known about and advertised in the community.

“I love DTP. They’ve done a lot for me and then for the theater department as a whole, but I’d love to see them open up to more groups on campus and more people,” Gonzalez said. “Because I feel like there are a lot of talented people in the music department or in other majors who don’t get to sing on the regular who would have loved to perform.”

In fact, the only non-theater major that performed at the cabaret was Mylo Bissell who now has added on a theater minor. More non-theater representation is welcome for future cabarets, according to Gonzalez. 

“I think it was fun to participate in it, and I sang a song [“Nothing New”], and it was by Taylor Swift and it has nothing to do with being gay, which I think should be what more queer representation looks like.” Follow @draketheatrepeople on Instagram to hear about upcoming student theater events.

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