It started as an annual fundraiser for the local LGBTQ community, and has grown into a professional theatrical experience with an enthusiastic fan base.
Since its first performance in 2009 at the (now closed) Mount Haven Resort in Milford, the drag show, Wigsticks, has always sold out.
The producers and creators are Dingmans Ferry residents Mark Silverstone and his partner, Timorell, who goes by one name and is Wigsticks’ musical director. Silverstone is also a major part of the show. His stage persona, Steady Mess, is mistress of ceremonies and entertainer.
Silverstone, an art director/graphic designer, was born in Montreal and became a U.S. citizen last year. Timorell is a digital marketing director. The couple met in 2004, when they were members of the Gay Men’s Chorus in New York City.
Their original goal was to bring New York City-drag-quality theatrical performances to the "sticks" -- "not to make fun of rural America, but to embrace diversity," Silverstone explained.
In the past, Steady Mess has raised funds for non-profits such as AIDS Walk New York, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the TriVersity Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, among others.
Each show has a theme. Past shows touched on gay marriage and gender identity. This year's theme is "Dragwives," which Silverstone described as an ode to women from all walks of life. The performers will reveal their struggles through stories, dancing, and singing, including parodies of songs from Broadway to jazz and contemporary music.
“The wonderful thing about drag is that you can do and say all the twisted things that everyone wishes they could say themselves!" Silverstone said. "That's why it's both funny and cathartic.”
He said today’s drag is more mainstream, with as much as half the audience identifying as straight.
Said Silverstone, “This is a show to escape the everyday routine -- to come out to the theater and have a good time.”
“The wonderful thing about drag is that you can do and say all the twisted things that everyone wishes they could say themselves! That's why it's both funny and cathartic.” -- Mark Silverstone