[OutVoice] San Antonio, TX: "Iconology 101"
TheChorusBoy at aol.com
TheChorusBoy at aol.com
Wed Jan 2 02:06:58 EST 2008
Southwest Actors Guide
In “ICONS 2,” Jade Esteban Estrada is a drama queen with a lesson plan
By JACK MILES
Read it online:
Jade Esteban Estrada is Alexander the Great in "ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay
History of the World, Vol. 2. Photo by SCOTT HELSEL.
Conquest. Religion. Sacrifice. Sweat. Politics. Fate. These were just a few
of the themes that took shape in the form of six new lesbian and gay icons
in the encore performance of the nationally touring production of "_ICONS: T
he Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 2_
(http://www.iconsofhistory.com/) " at Metropolitan Community Church of San Antonio on November 14, 2007.
The show was directed by David Miguel Estrada with book, music, lyrics,
choreography and performance by "master entertainer" _Jade Esteban Estrada_
(http://www.getjaded.com/) . Additional musical arrangements were by _Tracy Stark_
(http://www.tracystark.com/) . Although _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/)
repeats a format that has proven a superb vehicle for his singing, acting and
comedic abilities, the middle show in the "_ICONS_
(http://www.iconsofhistory.com/) " trilogy sets itself apart by demonstrating in him a social
consciousness that glitters beyond the glitz and glamour of the Broadway-caliber
Born in 2004 at the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival, the
sequel to "_ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1_
(http://www.iconsofhistory.com/) " (the show that brought Sappho, Michelangelo, Oscar
Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Rivera and Ellen DeGeneres to the stage) won
the Audience Favorite in Solo Performance Award in its opening weekend and
later played the Bonham Exchange Ballroom in downtown San Antonio in 2005.
The eclectic show begins with _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/)
delivering a public television inspired introduction advising the audience that they
needed worry if they happen to "miss anything" in the program. Dressed in a
black cape and Spartan sandals he adds, "History has a funny way of repeating
itself." In a line that sets the tone for the entire evening, it seems clear
early on that "_ICONS 2_ (http://www.iconsofhistory.com/) " takes a more
serious look at the legacy left by lesbians and gays than its predecessor. Not
willing to lose his listeners with too much information all at once, he peppers
his stories with a signature silliness that has made him a YouTube favorite.
He follows his lofty description of Alexander the Great's mother Princess
Olympias of Epirus with a stone-faced, "no, really - she was hot."
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) stripped off the cape to reveal a
dazzling red and silver gladiator costume complete with a half-arm of armor. The
musical opens with "the greatest funeral in recorded history." The death
scene of Alexander's companion Hephaistion is painted with dubbed vocals of
hearty male voices carrying the deceased as Alexander sings "Hephaistion."
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) 's velvety voice expresses a pop sound
reminiscent of Rick Astley. Alexander sings about the difficulty of moving forward in
his life without his beloved.
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) , who is known for including audience
interaction in his performances, limits the time in the house to the upbeat
song "Alexander" when he channelled the spirit of Elvis Presley in a
Latin-fused number rallying the right side of the theatre to compete with the left side
for a position in his army. The true comedy arose when the unsuspecting
audience didn't immediately respond to the freshly broken forth wall. For those
unfamiliar with _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) 's stage work or the
genre of the one-person show, this improvised section gives the viewers the
opportunity to see _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) in his element. The
veteran stand-up comedian seems to make it a point to make sure the audience is
with him in his onstage journey. He stops the show, sits on a woman's lap and
asks, "are you getting everything that I'm sayin' up here?"
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) ended the Alexander segment when he
revealed that he didn't feel so well. "I hope it's not malaria," is one of the
many historically accurate tidbits he throws in to educate while
One of the actor's most convincing onstage transitions was his transformation
from Alexander to Queen Christina of Sweden, the monarch who abdicated the
throne and converted to Catholicism. His voice, body language and face
soften as he becomes youthful and scatterbrained while trying on the royal attire
before her famous announcement to the people of Sweden. The song she sings,
"Unearth me" was effervescent. _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) utilizes
time compression effectively by starting the song at age 18 ending up as a 28
year old woman with an attitude. The change came as a genuine surprise as
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) sculpted her personality before our very
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) next became the prudish Susan B.
Anthony, the women's suffrage activist who sang the song "The Politics of
Inclusion." The actor did not spend too much time with the details of looking exactly
like the characters he portrayed. Instead, almost by hypnosis, he convinced
the audience to believe that what they were witnessing was real.
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) 's fourth icon drew applause before the
character's first lines were uttered from those old enough to remember her
rise to fame. Dressed in a cute, white tennis skirt, wristbands, headband, and
period glasses, _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) channeled tennis great
Billie Jean King walking across the stage with the gait of a warrior.
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) reenacted the "Battle of the Sexes"
tennis match against rival Bobby Riggs in 1973 which was a significant
landmark in the development of equality between men and women. He ran from side to
side swooping the tennis racket inches away from the front row much to the
delight of the spectators. _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) 's King was
sheer poetry in motion.
"Do you consider yourself an athlete or a woman?" asked a recorded voice
imitating sportscaster Howard Cosell. Kings responds, "I consider myself an
athlete and a woman...but today you can just call me - the winner."
"The show stopping number of the evening (_Estrada_
(http://www.getjaded.com/) slid a similar number as Oscar Wilde in "_ICONS 1_
(http://www.iconsofhistory.com/) ") was "Helluva Guy" in a portrayal of Harvey Milk, the first
openly gay man to be elected to public office in the U.S. Milk was shot in the
head at San Francisco City Hall in 1978 by a fellow city supervisor. In this
number, he attempts to win the public vote with an aerobic song and dance
number. Curiously, in the lyrics of this song is the only time the word "gay" is
uttered during the entire show.
He changes the feel a bit when Milk performs "The Mayor of Castro Street"
when the audience sees the politician ten months later speaking to his staff the
afternoon of his assassination. _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) 's
hand carefully guides the audience through a whirlwind of emotions. He makes it
okay to laugh one minute and cry the next without remorse.
_Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) 's boldest number is the finale when he
resurrected Mark Bingham, the United Airlines passenger who called his
mother in flight to tell her he loved her and that the passengers were about to
fight back against terrorists before they died in a pasture in Pennsylvania.
There was an eeriness in watching him mention the infamous date while getting a
taxi receipt. "May I get a receipt, please? Uhmm. The 11th. September 11th.
Thanks. Tax write-off." Bingham smiles good-heartedly and waves goodbye to
the driver. The song "Someday You Might Be a Hero" is riveting and the chorus
Although years had passed since that day that changed the world in 2001, the
audience seemed to have been taken on a magic carpet ride of conquest,
religion, sacrifice, sweat, politics and fate. Destinies that have not just shaped
lesbian and gay history - but world history. And that seems to be _Estrada_
(http://www.getjaded.com/) 's point.
One Kansas critic called _Estrada_ (http://www.getjaded.com/) "one of the
finest solo theatre artists of the 21st century." After the exhilarating
performance of "_ICONS 2_ (http://www.iconsofhistory.com/) ," the public that
rose to their feet in applause seemed to agree with that.
©2008 Southwest Actors Guide
Check out Jade on YouTube.com:
Also, check out the new designer humor line of greeting cards from Jade
“Jade Esteban Estrada for Nos Vemos Greetings”
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