Coco Peru is one angry, bitter queen: angry at the legacy of anti-gay, anti-sissy-boy discrimination and intolerance, bitter about political correctness, political stupidity, and general human foibles. But she swallows that bitter pill (and spills it over her audience) in a delightful musical cabaret show, which I saw with my friends from the Feast of Fun podcast on Friday, August 20th, 2010, at the Dunes Resort in Saugatuck (Douglas, technically), Michigan.
Taking the audience on a treacherous journey from her time as a young child in the Bronx up to recent sojourns with her mother Helen in Florida (a hilarious Papa John’s pizza ordering fiasco), Miss Coco Peru explains why her dream to become the gay Jesus (a homo Messiah) have failed–not that she hasn’t tried hard!
From rallying against abusive Catholic nuns in grade school to a rant about the absurdity of not giving lesbians and gays equal marriage rights, Miss Coco comments on contemporary social issues from a progressive (and angry) drag perspective, while also sharing lovely anecdotes about her own marriage to her husband Rafael, legally conducted in Spain (where Rafael is from).
All of this while wearing a gorgeous ginger red wig that flares at the bottom and a sparkly silver dress with matching necklace!
Clinton Leupp, who performs under the stage name Miss Coco Peru, is a talented monologist and equally talented singer. The songs–rewritings of American classics–help to lighten the tone of Miss Coco’s show, and showcase her enormous skills as a chanteuse.
While extremely tightly scripted, the show maintains elements of stand-up comedy and of the social critique that characterizes cabaret theater, where a biting discussion of current affairs is interspersed with more entertaining banter. The content of the show seems more geared to a middle-to-older aged audience, to people who share the memories of much more hostile times.
Coco Peru also jokes about feeling some resentment towards younger generations who do not have that historical memory; hopefully, her show will serve as a repository of conflicted emotions that younger people can access as they try to understand the profound social changes that have marked the last half century.
Originally a New York drag queen, Miss Coco now resides in Los Angeles and has a wonderful website where she keeps her numerous fans abreast of her tours.
Catch her show when you can! You will see how this gay Irish/German boy from City Island, the Bronx, honors and pushes forward the legacy of her namesake, the legendary Peruvian drag diva Coco Marusix! Coco Peru is a force of nature to be reckoned with. – Larry La Fountain