Drag queen Toothpick wears a face shield while lip-syncing “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande at Kobalt for the 4Some Revue’s fourth anniversary show. The pandemic has forced many entertainers to be creative. (Photo by Alina Nelson/Cronkite News)
PHOENIX – For entertainers across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to find creative approaches when it came to performing. Many turned to Zoom and Instagram, hosting virtual theatre productions and concerts. The 4Some Revue, a drag show at Kobalt bar in Phoenix, was no exception.
As the pandemic unfolded in March of 2020, the 4Some Revue cast of Toothpick, Salem Vee DeMilo, Mynx DeMilo and Joey Jay turned to virtual performances.
“As a cast, we did a couple of virtual shows,” Toothpick said. “It was a way for us to still deliver our heart to the community.”
Performing during COVID is not without challenges. Virtual shows often are more time-consuming than live ones because of the time it takes to execute a livestream and edit videos. Additionally, the entertainment market was saturated and competition was stiff.
Now that live shows are permitted, cast members perform wearing face shields.
“(The face shield) blurs a little bit, so it’s kind of disorienting in some cases. But, I would much rather wear it, than go out there without it,” Mynx said.
The 4Some Revue celebrated their fourth anniversary April 9. For all performances, audience members wanting a table inside have to make a reservation in advance. Patio seating is available on a first come, first serve basis. To prevent groups from congregating and to keep the audience safe, individuals are not allowed to get up and order from the bar. Table service is available instead.
Tipping also looks different during the COVID-19 era. Buckets are placed on each corner of the stage for audience members to place cash. For those who want a contactless option, they can tip the cast via Venmo or PayPal.
Even though modifications had to be made, the cast was excited to be celebrating four years together.
“When the show first started out, I was actually the show DJ in drag,” Toothpick said. “I was weaseling my way very slowly into the show, and so it’s very gratifying to see my personal evolution with the show.”
For Joey Jay, “The beauty about 4Some Revue is that none of the cast members were established before they came to the show. We’re amateurs. It’s so cool to hear in all of these other cities that this show in Phoenix has the spotlight that it deserves.”
Joey Jay competed on season 13 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which was filmed during the pandemic. Despite the risk COVID-19 presented, Joey Jay did not hesitate to join the “Drag Race” cast.
“It might have made the experience super crazy and difficult, but I knew that at the end of the day I was being taken care of,” he said. “Every other day we were getting tested, and they were checking on us.”
The 4Some Revue cast hopes that Joey Jay isn’t the only queen to represent Phoenix on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and it has big plans for the future of the group. After more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the cast would love to tour as a group.
“We all have our unique styles, but it’s cohesive,” Mynx said. “The dynamic, I think, is what keeps people excited after four years.”
The 4Some Revue performs at Kobalt every Friday at 10 p.m.