Long before RuPaul's Drag Race took over queer culture, drag fans got their kicks at the iconic New York festival known as Wigstock. Founded by Lady Bunny herself, it ran from 1985 to 2001.
“When Wigstock started in 1985, the LGBTQ+ community was in desperate need of an event where everyone could pull out their wigs and come together, with the help of some glitter, glitz and a glue gun or two,” said Bunny. “There couldn’t be a better time than now to honor the legends of Wigstock, who paved the way for drag culture’s current popularity, by bringing back an outrageous and unapologetically entertainment-rich show.”
That's right, Wigstock is coming back next month. Taking place September 1 at the new rooftop of Pier 17, the live event will be directed by Tony winner, Michael Mayer. It will also feature performances by Alaska, Alex Newell, Amanda Lepore, Barbara Tucker, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Candis Cayne, Charlene Incarnate, Darcelle XV, Desmond the Amazing, Dina Martina, Heklina, Jackie Beat, Jada Valenciagia, Jinx Monsoon, Joey Arias, Justin Vivian Bond, Kevin Aviance, Latrice Royale, Lina Bradford, Linda Simpson, Lypsinka, Murray Hill, Peaches Christ, Peppermint, Raven O, Sherry Vine, Taylor Mac, Unitard, Varla Jean Merman, and Willam. More performers will be announced soon.
Courtesy Gordon Robichaux, NY, © the artist
And this time, Bunny will have the help of none other than Neil Patrick Harris. The Tony-winning star of film, tv, and stage will produce along with Bunny and husband, David Burtka.
“Through fearlessness and fake eyelashes, Wigstock connected the LGBTQ+ community and its straight allies for two decades, while breaking down stereotypes and helping everyone to love and understand each other more,” stated Harris. “On Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I got to dip my toe in the delicious, Champagne-filled pool called drag, so I am now drunk with excitement to help bring back a show filled with over-the-top and sometimes out- of-control performances at a time when we all desperately need to come together, to laugh and to be entertained.”
HIV/AIDS service organization, Gay Men's Health Crisis will serve as the event's non-profit partner. Also producing are Oscar winner Bruce Cohen, Jason Weinberg, Matador Content, and parent company of Out Magazine and The Advocate, Pride Media, who will also be responsible for brand partnership sales and production of the live event.
“Drag has come a long way since Wigstock’s early days in New York’s Tompkins Square Park,” said Pride Media CEO Nathan Coyle. “Drag has transcended the LGBTQ+ community, making now the perfect time to bring back a show that celebrates our incredible diversity while reinforcing what truly makes our community great.”
Wigstock will take place September 1, 3-10pm at Pier 17. Advanced tickets will be available here.