By John M. Hayden
Life’s been a drag the last few weeks with social distancing and self isolating. When life gets back to normal, it will still be a drag, but only of the most fabulous variety. Stilettos is a weekly show at The Pub on Wilton Drive. Local drag legend Candy Cox is part of the regular troupe taking the stage Monday nights, and told us about what sets Stilettos apart from the other neighborhood’s other shows. “The concept of Stilettos is four girls who rotate Monday nights as the hosts, or when not hosting perform as a cast member. We always have one host, two or three cast, and also two or three special guests on a given Monday. We always have six performers. Each performer does four songs which is a lot for a show. Most shows in town average two or three songs per girl. We start at 8:00PM and run straight through until 10:00PM. So, you get six entertainers, 24 songs in two hours, non stop. We are the only show in town doing this.”
The girls start working well before the music starts. About 30 minutes before showtime, the girls start working the room, interacting with the audience. Candy gives first time guests a warning: get there early. “Our shows start on time, not drag time. There is really no excuse for starting late. If you say 8:00PM, start at 8:00PM. It’s about being respectful to your patrons and fans, management and entertainers. Everyone’s time is valuable. We have a following and our patrons know we start on time. Everyone tries to get there early to get a table and seats.” Afterwards, the ladies will hang out and have a little facetime with those of us that don’t have to be in the office early on Tuesday!
The stage is full of Cox. Candy is often joined by her “sisters,” Mercury Cox and RaeJean Cox. They’ve been performing together for nearly a decade. “We performed as a trio in the Lady Fancy Gospel Jubilee. We continued to perform and became cast for the Gospel Jubilee as well as in her Monday night shows at the Stable.”
Now if this show sounds vaguely familiar, there’s a reason – it is! “Stilettos was not always Stilettos. It’s gone through two name changes. We started on a Monday night at The Stable in 2015. Lady Fancy had done shows on Mondays at The Stable for years, but was switched to late night Saturdays. Several months later four of us – Nancy Ross, Maxine Massingill, RaeJean Cox, and myself – asked to bring back the Monday shows. The show was called Mama Mia Mondays.” After a brief, six week run, the show closed because the bar closed. From there it was off to Scandals with a different cast of characters, with the host being dressed as a country icon. From there they became Stilettos at Scandals, which featured a wide range of music.
For the last couple of years, Stilettos has called The Pub home, and Candy says the show’s gone next level. “Our show and our patrons have only gotten bigger and better. It’s a totally different vibe and energy. The management team and the bar staff are so supportive. It’s like a big family with everyone supporting each other. Our bartenders blast our shows on social media weekly. That’s teamwork.”
Stilettos is two hours every Monday at The Pub, promptly at 8:00PM, and as Miss Cox warned, get there early. The show has a loyal following, but newcomers are always welcome!