This Beauty Contest is a Drag

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Seth Tucker, Alex Ringler, Nick Cearley, John Bolton, Curtis Wiley, Marty Thomas and Nic Cory in 'Pageant.'

Your usual beauty contest features a lot of the same elements as this Off-Broadway musical making its return — lots of makeup, form-fitting costumes, noble speeches of rehearsed sincerity, and musical performances. The significant difference in Pageant is what lies beneath; the hyper-feminine contestants are all men. They're vying for the title of Miss Glamouresse and members of the audience help select the winner.

Pageant, directed by Matt Lenz with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and Frank Kelly and music by Albert Evans, is a beauty contest send-up in drag. It was first seen Off-Broadway in 1991, and nearly a quarter-century later, it’s back with a few updates. New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood has seen the new production from and lets us know if Pageant is showing any signs of aging. The show runs through Sept. 21 at the Davenport Theatre.