‘That’s Entertainment’ drag show raises over $12,000 for Leeds Center
Published 11:52 am Tuesday, March 21, 2023
On Saturday night, the Leeds Center for the Arts – as it often is – was the place to be for entertainment in Winchester and Clark County.
The famed theater hosted “Ms. Niagra Presents: That’s Entertainment,” a drag show extravaganza serving as a fundraiser for Leeds.
All ticket sales, tips from the performers and Venmo donations benefited the theater and its programs.
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“I presented a check for $12,580.46,” said Winchester resident Brett Cheuvront.
Cheuvront – who also performed as Ms. Niagra Falls – was thrilled at the turnout for the show.
“It was a sold-out, packed show. Everyone in there was just so pumped and full of support and love. All the performances by the other drag queens were super,” Cheuvront said. “I had backup dancers for a couple of my songs, and people just raved about them. It was a great, great evening for the whole community, I think.”
Cheuvront opened the show by singing “That’s Entertainment” by the late, great Judy Garland. The show’s other featured acts were Helena Handbasket, Miya Pinion and Poly Tics.
The show featured a medley of Dolly Parton songs, “Cabaret” by Liza Minelli and much more.
“It was just a lot of classy songs,” Cheuvront said about the performances.
The show was the first of its kind to benefit the Leeds Center, but Ms. Niagra has performed several times to benefit different causes in the area.
“The last time that Niagra came out, it was for the spade and neuter clinics in Winchester,” Cheuvront said.
Helping charitable causes served as the genesis for the character. Cheuvront said he came up with Ms. Niagra “25-30 years ago” and first brought her to life to help raise money for Movable Feast – an organization that benefits those with HIV/AIDS – in Lexington when it was first getting started.
So who is Ms. Niagra?
“The way that I look at Ms. Niagra is that she is just a very classy older lady,” Cheuvront said. “The winters are too harsh up here for her, so she lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She enjoys laying around the pool and having her cabana boys wait on her.”
Choosing the Leeds Center as the fundraiser’s beneficiary was a no-brainer for Cheuvront.
“During COVID, when everything had to close down, they were not able to have their season, so they had lost so much money through that,” Cheuvront said.
And in Cheuvront’s opinion, ensuring Leeds is adequately funded is vital for the community.
“Leeds is so important to this community. It provides a safe space for everybody no matter their color, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation,” he explained. “I think if I had a Leeds back when I was younger, then I would have felt a lot better about myself growing up.”
The theater also provided a safe place for show-goers to experience a drag show, which has come under fire in recent months.
Kentucky Senate Bill 115, which was passed by the Senate earlier this month, would ban drag shows from happening at a place of business within 1,000 feet of any place children would be present such as homes, churches or schools. The legislation categorizes drag shows as adult entertainment alongside strip clubs, adult stores and 18-plus movie theaters.
A pair of protestors demonstrated against the show in Winchester, one of whom had a sign that implied the show was perverted.
Cheuvront said the show and others like them “are just entertainment” and that men have played women on stage for centuries.
“Men have been doing women’s parts in plays since Shakespeare,” he said.
The legislation has yet to go up for a vote in the House.
Regardless, even though Cheuvront said he has retired Ms. Niagra enough times to make him “the Tom Brady of drag queens,” there is a chance she will grace Winchester with her presence again.
“Never say never,” he said.