Roman Wilde, a Juneau drag performer, performs during GLITZ, a major annual drag event typically celebrated every Pride Month, at Centennial Hall on June 18, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Roman Wilde, a Juneau drag performer, performs during GLITZ, a major annual drag event typically celebrated every Pride Month, at Centennial Hall on June 18, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

GLITZ in September: Juneau’s biggest drag show prepares for first fall debut

The annual performance returns following the reopening of newly renovated Centennial Hall ballroom.

With the days getting shorter and the weather colder, fall can be a drag in the capital city — Juneau Drag hopes to transform people’s attitudes with its upcoming drag extravaganza GLITZ.

The eighth annual GLITZ drag show is set to kick off with back-to-back shows next Friday and Saturday evenings at the newly renovated Centennial Hall ballroom downtown. The show, known as Juneau Drag’s biggest event of the year, includes local performers set to hit the stage alongside iconic headliners like Pandora Box and Lawanda Jackson.

[Centennial Hall ballroom opening back up with a new look]

Funds raised from the event go to the Southeast Alaska Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Alliance. Last year the event raised more than $10,000.

Organizer and longtime Juneau drag pillar Gigi Monroe said this year’s pair of shows are going to be an immersive experience, including new elements beyond what has been attempted by Juneau drag in previous years.

The shows are typically some of the headliner events of Juneau’s Pride Month festivities hosted in June. However, due to the ballroom’s ongoing construction it was postponed until mid-September.

Monroe said the wait is worth it, as the new renovations mean ungraded technology that she thinks will take the show to a whole new level.

“We have the entire ballroom and are really excited about the Centennial Hall upgrades, especially with technology and how that’s going to impact live performance events like this,” she said. “I’m really excited to be in that space and to utilize some of those new upgrades such as multiple video screens, which is new for GLITZ.”

Each performer will have their own personalized video playing during their performance, along with a cast of six choreographed backup dancers to support the whole show.

“We’ve never done that kind of stuff before,” she said. “It’s just an amazing team effort and it’s just really upping the level of visual experience that the audience has.”

Monroe said the show’s tickets are already selling out quickly — not a surprise as the show has consistently sold out before doors have even opened in previous years. Monroe said she hopes the same will happen this time around, an ambitious feat as the renovation allows for more capacity than before.

“We’re hoping to pack the house and fill the capacity, which is about 500 people,” she said.

Monroe said beyond the sparkle and glamour of the event, the show is about building a safe space for the drag and LGBTQ+ community in Juneau.

“I feel like that’s where we are today, in the LGBTQ+ community and in the drag community, we’re seeing all of these attacks, kind of on the next level than we’ve ever seen before,” she said. “The show, it’s about building our community, strengthening our community and seeing value in being on the fringes and supporting each other where we are.”

Know & Go

What: GLITZ Dragstravaganza

Where: Centennial Hall ballroom

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 16

Admission: Varies, for more information, visit www.juneaudrag.com.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651) 528-1807.

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