In less than a year, drag performer Miss Bouvèé has become a favorite on the drive, singing and hosting live weekly cabaret shows.

Now, she will star in a new comedy premiering at The Foundry in Wilton Manors on Oct. 6.

“Think of ‘Minnie Behind Bars’ as a screwball musical homage to 1940s film noir with a touch of Carol Burnett-inspired sketch comedy,” explained Eric Swanson, the actor and singer behind the drag persona of America's southern belle sweetheart. “This murder mystery will have you laughing, singing and wondering just who done it.”

Swanson, a Michigan transplant who came to South Florida last October in the midst of the pandemic, entrusted the writing to longtime collaborator Robert LeLeux.

“We created the show because I hadn’t seen anything like that at The Foundry and, in typical artist fashion, you find a void and then fill it,” Swanson said with a chuckle. “Obviously, October is the Halloween season and we thought it would be fun to create a show with Miss Bouvèé, a drag queen in the lead.”

LeLeux dreamed up a plot in which Miss Bouvèé is embroiled in a scandal after her playboy husband Godfrey Fakenham, maid Ruby Belcher and daughter Esme Bouvèé all become suspects in the killing of Minnie's lover, Darrell Lee Longstaff. When the star is arrested and questioned, her terrible past rises to the surface.

Audiences will have to determine if she committed the crime or who else had something to gain from killing Longstaff, the accomplished pianist. Detective Goodwood gets to the bottom of it all by the end of the fast-paced show filled with plenty of naughty innuendos.

The cast includes local cabaret artists and community leaders: singer Jennifer McClain as Ruby Belcher, Terry Dyer of Sunserve as Godfrey Fakenham, Steven Edgar Ross-Dybash from The BoyS as Esme Bouvèé and his husband Christopher Ross-Dybash as Darrell Lee Longstaff/ Detective Bruce Goodwood.

Fans might be surprised to know that Miss Bouvèé was invented only recently as a one-woman show during the early days of the pandemic. LeLeux whipped out the script and Swanson became Bouvèé within just a few weeks. Just as quickly, tens of thousands of new fans were enjoying the character online. Now, Miss Bouvèé performs (and sings) at live, all-request weekly cabaret shows at the Pub and Matty’s. (“I don’t lip-sync,” Swanson emphasized.)

“I’m a theater queen through and through,” Swanson said, noting he had portrayed Alban in “La Cage aux Folles” and Edna Turnblatt in “Hairspray” on stage. “I’d done drag roles, but not drag in a bar scene or a cabaret scene on a regular basis. When Miss Bouvèé took off, having to do the show every week online was a lot of pressure, [especially] mixing up the looks, creating a variety. I’m the definition of a pandemic pivot.”

So what’s next? Once audiences solve the mystery in “Minnie Behind Bars,” Swanson plans to stage a drag version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with Miss Bouvèé playing the Scrooge character. And next year, Swanson and McClain plan to host a cabaret-themed Caribbean cruise. But first, Miss Bouvèé needs to get sprung from jail and have her good name cleared.


Miss Bouvèé stars in “Minnie Behind Bars,” Oct. 6 – 7, 14 – 16, 18 and 27 – 28, at The Foundry, 2306 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors. All shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 at MissBouvee.com.


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS