He’s an Emmy Award-winning TV personality and style expert. She’s an international singer with an impressive string of dance hits. And they are joining forces for a unique evening of humor and music March 17 at The Rrazz Room in New Hope.
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” alum and best-selling author Carson Kressley has been a regular fixture on TV talk shows and LGBT events ever since the show that made him famous wrapped. Kristine W has been seen and heard in LGBT dance clubs around the world, and Billboard Magazine recently named her “Dance Music Artist of the Decade.” The two have been friends for a long time, but it took someone who knew both of them to suggest they pool their talents on the same stage for an intimate show called “Standup with a Twist.”
“We have always enjoyed one another’s company,” Kressley said. “We share an agent who said, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if you guys did something together?’ We both said, ‘Yes, let’s give it a try.’ So we’re doing two kinds of twisted cabarets, one in New York and one in New Hope.”
Kristine W said audiences will be pleasantly surprised at Kressley’s range of talents.
“Carson is an amazing person,” she said. “He can do so many things. So, to be able to perform with him is going to be a treat. He’s hilarious, very spontaneous and great with a crowd. He can sing. You’re going to be surprised. He has a multitude of talents. It’s going to be a fun way to show a different side of the things we can do. We love each other, so that makes us really click together.”
OK, Kressley can sing. Does that mean Kristine W has jokes?
“We’ll see,” she said. “We’re going to gab on a bit of everything.”
Both performers are used to big stages, and anyone who has ever been to the Rrazz Room knows the venue is decidedly cozier in size and vibe. Both performers are eager for the opportunity to get up close and personal with these upcoming performances.
“You can reach out and touch them — appropriately,” Kressley said about performing in a smaller space.
“It’s more a cabaret vibe, intimate and organic,” Kristine W added. “Carson and I both want people to leave the show knowing a little bit more of who we are. We can connect with them as people and just have the face time. With intimate shows, you can bond with people and they become more than just someone that follows your music. Through that experience, they become part of your life. It’s a fun way to get ‘fams,’ which I call family.”
“It’s more relaxing,” Kressley added. “With these spaces, it’s almost like having people in your house and having a conversation. I’m always much better with that than a big giant stage and a crowd. I’m looking forward to the space and really making it homey and relaxed and intimate and honest, and at the same time very fun. You can amplify those things in a small space.”
“I think the audience participation will be fun,” said Kristine W. “I’ve played Vegas for some years and he’s done so many shows where he brings the audience in and tee-hees with them. That’s going to be wonderful for both of us.”
Even though the two have busy and prolific careers on their own, they agreed that if these collaborative shows generate any interest from audiences in other cities and towns, they’ll find a way to perform more.
“I’m not that busy and I like projects like this that are exciting, fun, new and interesting,” Kressley said. “If we were able to do shows like this across the country, then I think we would just make the time for them because it’s something we like to do.”
“I totally agree,” Kristine W said. “It’s something that is so different and so much fun that it’s going to be one of those things that we look forward to between the other shows and events that we do. Lord knows we’ve done a wide variety of crazy stuff.”
Kressley and Kristine W attribute their individual success to showing up with a positive attitude and outlook.
“The advancement in high-definition makeup has kept me alive,” Kressley said. “I think longevity in this business is about being willing to say yes a lot as opposed to no. So if someone wants me to do a show or a cabaret or a commercial, I’ll say yes. Nine out of 10 times, it’s the right thing to do and even if it isn’t, you learn so much from doing it. I just like staying busy and engaged and out there. I think that kept me going for the last 15 years, in what can be a really hard business.”
“I second that motion,” Kristine W said. “It’s easy to back away from something that might make you feel uncomfortable or might not be your specialty, but when you put it out there and say yes and give it 100 percent, things happen.”
With more than 20 years of hits to her name, Kristine W’s track record on the dance charts puts her in the same league as Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Madonna. She attributes her continued success to her fans in the LGBT community.
“I just had my 17th number-one dance hit this week, so it’s kind of surreal,” she said. “When those statistics pop up you’re just like, Wow, that’s a lot of records and people that have kept dancing for a long time. I’m honored and amazed that Kristine from a little farm town who dreamed a big dream made it happen. And I made it happen in spite of a lot of difficult times. I feel blessed to get up every day and do the next thing. I think when you keep an attitude of gratitude, fabulous things can follow.
“It’s been so much fun,” she added. “The thing about the accolades is that I don’t feel like it’s my victory but our victory. I’ve also been a part of the LGBT community for a long time and done some many events. I feel like we’ve done so many amazing things together.”
Carson Kressley and Kristine W perform 8 p.m. March 17 at The Rrazz Room, located in The Clarion Inn & Suites, 6426 Lower York Road. For more information or tickets, call 888-596-1027 or visit www.TheRRazzRoom.com.