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Published by The Journal Record – Read orignical article here

Orignially published on January 28, 2015

Around Town: Unique ‘gals’ strut stuff

Lyric Theatre’s first show of the season is its first hit of the season. Pageant is a musical comedy about six contestants in the Miss Glamouresse competition. Their hilarious actions keep the audience in stitches. As a matter of fact, the audience was almost a part of the show because they became so involved with the six “girls” as they sang, tap-danced, prayed (that’s right, prayed) and displayed their various charms.

Portraying the contestants are James Michael Avance as Miss West Coast, Tanner Lee Hanley as Miss Texas, Ross McCorkell as Miss Industrial Northeast, Sheridan McMichael as Miss Great Plains, Shane Pruitt as Miss Deep South, and Christopher Sieker as Miss Bible Belt.

Wait. Those actors’ names sound like men’s names. That’s because the roles of the competitors are played by men – really beautiful men. (Wish their makeup artist would make me that beautiful.)

The “women” make their entrance in beautiful evening gowns, each of which hints of their background and talent. They change costumes for various parts of the show, including the traditional modeling of swimsuits – again drawing shouts and cheers and applause from the audience. The contestants not only parade their charms, but also promote commercial beauty products sold under the Glamouresse name.

All of the shenanigans by the ladies were supervised by the master of ceremonies, Frankie Cavlier, a role superbly played by Monte Riegel Wheeler. I think he must have seen the great actor Alan Cumming, who plays the emcee on Broadway in Cabaret – gay, a bit sleazy but funny. Monte keeps Pageant going on its side-splitting way.

The top winners in the contest are chosen by the audience applause. Then the final winner is chosen by four or five people in the audience, although one suspects those people were chosen ahead of time because Mike Turpen, major supporter of Lyric Theatre, was one of the voters.

The hilarious romp is directed by Ashley Wells, associate artistic director for Lyric. Providing the music are Brian T. Hamilton, director; Leif Nevener, guitar; Larry Moore, bass; and Roger Owens, drums. Shea Sullivan is choreographer.

Pageant will be at Lyric’s Plaza Theatre through Feb. 15 and tickets are available by calling (405) 524-9312 or online at You don’t want to miss this show – and you can still purchase season tickets.