Out & About with Mike Pingel: DREAMGIRLS REVUE at Hamburger Mary’s

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Ingenue, Mike Pingel & Dolly Levi at Dreamgirls Revue

It’s showtime every Tuesday at the longest running drag show, Dreamgirls Revue, happening at West Hollywood eatery and hotspot, Hamburger Mary’s

Bring your singles. The crowd on the evening that I attended was a mix of ladies, gay men, couples and groups. They knew the show was about to begin after a waiter came around asking, “Do you need singles for the show?”

The lights dimmed, the disco ball illuminated the room and a spotlight shined brightly on the stage. The music started picking up speed to pump up the crowd and the crowd responded on cue with shouts and claps. Let the show begin.

The hostess with the mostest, Ingenue, has been hosting the show for over 10 years. She welcomed the crowd with the first performance of the night. She chatted us up and let everyone know what was in store for the evening.

Ingenue embodies Serial Mom – photo by Mike Pingel

That evening’s lineup included fan favorites Eddie Debar,  LaMoni Stat, Dolly Levi and the special guest for the evening was former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, Delta Work. She captivated the audience with her stunning piece, God Warrior.

The always comedic, Ingenue struck laugher gold with her “Serial Mom” performance piece, but the evening was even more special when the Dreamgirls celebrated their own Dolly Levi’s 60th birthday that night. Levi gave us the highlight of the evening, which included her show-stopping performance of Frozen’s “Let It Go.” She really brought the house down.

Top to left: LaMoni Stat & Delta Work / Bottom to left: Eddie Debar & Dolly Levi – photos by Mike Pingel

The audience appeared to love every minute of the show, especially after one of the performers grabbed an audience member and brought her up to dance during a performance. There is a lot of interaction with the performers, which makes this show so much fun.

One exciting component about coming to Dreamgirls Revue at Hamburger Mary’s, is how close the audience gets to the talent throughout the show. It can be a perfect place to celebrate a life milestone such as a birthday, new job, or show off a new haircut. Ingenue has no qualms about pulling a person celebrating a special event up on stage during the evening, so it’s a perfect time to embarrass your friends. “We get to play with them a little bit more,” Ingenue said about the crowd interaction.

“It’s like a family here,” Eddy Debar said with a smile, “The crowds are really receptive. If it’s slammed or a light night, the crowd is always up for a show.”

She’s got legs! Dolly Levi photo by Mike Pingel

Inguene shared this wonderful story with me about last year’s election night, which highlights how important their audience is to the performers: “Election night, Dolly Levi and I were here with three other girls in the show,” she said. “It was a really hard show and Dolly kept the energy up backstage because some of the girls were in tears. But one of the things I loved and it shows you what we do as Dreamgirls Revue and it’s personified through Dolly Levi. When Dolly did one of her numbers, she went around and hugged every person in the audience. To me, that sets the Dreamgirls Revue apart from every other show. Because we love the people. We will kiss them. We will hug them.”

“What I told them after the show was over was, ‘just because he won, doesn’t mean we lost,'” Levi added. “‘We still have our voices, so make it heard. Do not stop, because if you stay silent the opposition is going to win. They are winning at certain things and we are winning at others.'”

Damian Quinn upper right corner, on stage with Ingenue

For then new West Hollywood resident and hottie Damian Quinn, this was totally true. That evening was Quinn’s second day in his new city, and he was dragged on stage. He even won a shot. “I love my new West Hollywood Drag culture,” he said. “I’m so happy to be queer here. The show was amazing and unreal. I came out here with my mom and we had a spectacular night.”

The Dreamgirls Revue heritage runs deep. There are numerous Dreamgirls Revues around the areas of Long Beach, San Diego and West Hollywood. The show has has been around for almost 30 years. It’s been handed down from one girl to the next. Currently, Chad Michaels owns the Dreamgirls Revue. Delta Work and Dolly Levi both produce the West Hollywood shows.

Some famous faces who have also dropped by Dreamgirls Revue. Adam Lambert, Rose Mcgowan (Charmed), Marilyn Manson, and RuPaul have all been spotted at one of the shows.

La Moni Stat – photo by Mike Pingel

“The show is built on comedy, character personation, general glamour, some level of dance ability and at some locations,” Delta Work said. “We do big production numbers. To be booked as Dreamgirls, you have to do all those things. Dreamgirls is an institution when it comes to drag. We have been in other locations here in West Hollywood, but Hamburger Mary’s is home.”

Each performer performs two numbers during the evening. There is no intermission and the show runs about an hour and a half. At the end of the show, the entire cast comes out and performs the last number together.

In addition to Dreamgirls Revue, it’s also Taco Tuesday, so it’s best to come early from 5pm-10pm, for all the tacos you can eat. It’s $7 for the first 3 tacos then 0.50 cents for each one after. Then it’s showtime at 10pm.

Hamburger Mary’s also offers $4 party shots (which is almost a double shot) and $5-dollar margaritas during the show. To quote the announcer for the night, “…more you drink, the evening gets even better.”

Hamburger Mary’s is located at 8288 Santa Monica Blvd. For reservations call 323-654-3800. Entry cover is $5.

To find out who will be performing at an upcoming show, visit the Dreamgirls Revue Facebook page, at facebook.com/dreamgirls.revue/.

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