We Will Rock You
Featuring the music of the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, Friday and Saturday’s performances of The King of Queen played to sold out houses at Oklahoma City gay bar and performance venue, The Boom. The audience were treated to a live band, 8-member choir, and a high energy performance by director-producer Leslie Hensley, who plays Mercury, in collaboration with internationally touring poet and activist Lauren Zuniga.
This year I wanted to do a show that was not only entertaining but also had a message. Freddie is the ultimate hero. When I was a kid I just wanted to jump around and be in that band. Every inner dialogue can be narrated by a Queen song.
Hensley, known by her stage name Balthazar, chose the songs to fit the libretto by Zuniga. The show features no dialogue; instead, Zuniga narrates the story while celebrated drag king Max A. Warner and his fellow actors pantomime the action. Warner plays Heather, a.k.a. The King, a young person transitioning from woman to trans man and finding rejection and heartache along the way. All the while, his guardian angel Mercury watches over him. LaRissa Conn sings the backing vocals, while Jacob Abello appears in a cameo as David Bowie.
When asked what Queen and Freddie Mercury mean to her, Hensley said,
Queen means rainbows and unicorns, dragon-sunsets and cupcake-filled hopes. Freddie is The King of Queen. Queen is the monarch of my heart. We were flattered as she continued,
I love your pictures because I can see myself hold — holding back [my] tears. This project — challenged me. Even though I knew the story. Every day I cried rehearsing. Other cast members include:
- Eryka Kraft as The Queen of Hearts
- Zeke Varnell as The Regent
- Veni Hanson as The Knight
- Eboni Adams as The Dutchess
- Eric Everett in the uncredited rôle of Death
The Royal Court band consists of Bear Rodriguez and Hector Lopez, guitars, Eric Harris, bass, Holly Moorad, keyboard, and Jacob Becannen, drums and musical direction. Crystal Huffman directs the Voices of Love and Fury Choir, consisting of Summer Blossom, Sarah Chambers, Holly Pierce, Elecktra Stanislava, Talia Talibbudin, BC Summers, Garrett Young, and Aaron Valles.