Breakout “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fan favorite BenDeLaCreme — or “DeLa” for short — is “ready to be committed.”
The “aggressively effervescent” queen is finally determined to settle down and “tie the knot in something besides her corset.” Now, all she needs is a potential spouse. And a dress. And a cake. And the ability to consider others. All the while, she “dodges pervy Grindr suitors, bitchy wedding-cake-toppers, and the errant arrows of Cupid himself.”
That’s the premise for the one-woman show that premiered in 2019 and was set to make its way across the country before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered theaters in 2020.
“Then the world fell apart,” recalled Ben Putnam, DeLa’s male alterego, in a phone interview. “There have been some false starts, but it’s really happening. It’s given me time to polish the edges and take it out for a ride.”
Putnam has not changed the show much since the forced hiatus, but “upped the ante” on the physical production of the show, which finally arrives at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater on May 20.
“This is a show that I wrote all about love and commitment and relationships and how we sort of view them in our culture and in our own lives,” Putnam explained. “They’re universal tried-and-true subjects that we’ve explored over history. Coming back to it, I found that most of the subject matter still feels very relevant to me and how I think the world will view it.”
Unlike his character, Putnam has been in a long-term relationship with his partner for nearly eight years: “As we continue to build our lives together, you learn more and more about what commitment means and what building a life together means. There are ongoing discoveries and that’s my personal journey, but going into this, I [tried to] look at it from every angle, the philosophies of love through the ages, how scientists look at [love], fairy tales and romcoms. This is a show that is going to ring true to anyone, whether they are happily single or unhappily single or happily coupled or unhappily coupled.”
Putnam and his partner had just moved to Los Angeles together when the lockdowns were ordered, putting their relationship to new tests.
“We were in a new city, in a new house and suddenly completely out of work. It was a trying time figuring out how to navigate all this. We had to kick it into high gear as producer partners, as well as life partners. It was a challenge, but we’re both really dedicated and hard workers, and we made a lot of stuff happen. Fortunately, we share the same passions and drives, and we’ve managed to find joy in it and make the best out of it.”
After the U.S. tour concludes in July, Putnam will take DeLa to the United Kingdom and Australia. She’ll also team up again with fellow “Drag Race” alum Jinkx Monsoon for their annual holiday tour.
“The rest of the year is a real whirlwind … then, holy crap, it’s 2023!” Putnam exclaimed.
“BenDeLaCreme is…Ready to be Committed” will be presented on Friday, May 20 at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets start at $44.50 at BrowardCenter.org.