Why yes, we did meet in charm school...
The Dolls started in 1996. As usual, it started on Halloween. We went to a Halloween Party at Estes Park (the hotel that "The Shining" was based on). We went with another friend, Neil (who called himself Neely) as "The Valley of the Dolls". We won first place. For a about a year we were party girls. Just going out clubbing and wearing fabulous outfits. Then the following Halloween we went to NYC and won first place on The Today Show's Halloween Contest and also got to headline the "The New York's Village Halloween Parade".
I guess after getting such attention, we decided to take the next move and start doing theatrical productions. We had to come up with a name and naturally chose, "The Dolls" after our favorite book and our favorite movie (it's not really our favorite movie but our favorite guilty pleasure). The movie and the book really inspired us with it's campiness and fashion. So the name seemed a perfect fit.
Our first production was a club show called"Love and Let Love" (a name of Neely O'Hara's first movie from "Valley of the Dolls". We performed it at The Albuquerque Social Club. It was a wild success. That Christmas we decided to do our first theatre show. We decided to do "The Joan Crawford/Marilyn Monroe Christmas Show". I guess we picked Joan and Marilyn because they are such icons and there is such delicious material to draw from. And they are such an unlikely pair.
Everyone thought we were crazy for doing a theatre show (at The Kimo) because it was such a large venue. They didn't think people would be interested in a drag show. But really, it was a play. But still, people convinced that we would be lucky to have thirty people in the audience. We were ecstatic to learn that we sold out all three nights!
We followed that up with another theatre show called "The Late, Late Drag Show" or "Valley of the Queens". This was a spoof on Hollywood Soaps form the fifties and sixties.
We started doing about two or three theatre shows a year and about three club shows.
Some of my favorite shows over the years are: "When Ladies Meet" (a spoof on two Bette Davis movies that we combined. Geneva did the "Dead Ringers" and I did the "Dark Victory" half), "Beware Uranus" (a sci-fi spoof), "Gunfight At The Diva Corral" (a spoof on Spaghetti Westerns), "Disco Dracula" (a spoof on Dracula movies). As you can see, we spoofed just about every movie genre.
We also did a TV show called "Dollicious". This lasted two seasons. It was great fun and had a huge following but trying to do five or six shows a year combined with a TV show was way too exhausting.
And of course, every year we were doing a Joan and Marilyn Christmas Show. Every year it was different. We had "A Joan & Marilyn Christmas Carol", "A Joan & Marilyn Waikiki Christmas", "A Ski Party Christmas", "A Martian Christmas".
Every play we did was an original work. Then we decided to do a classic. "The Women" with an all male cast! The cast was so huge and there were so many set changes. It was a challenge but remains one of my favorite shows.
Theatre is our passion but we still loved doing club shows (especially since this is how we started). Our fairy tales have become a yearly tradition. We have done everything from "Cinderella" to "Malice In Wonderland".
In 2007 we did, "Revolting Drag Queens - The Story of Stonewall". This was a fictitious story based on the actual events leading to Stonewall. It was our first venture doing something dramatic. We were a little nervous about doing dramatic material but the response was tremendous. Suddenly everyone started taking our seriously.
It was at this time that Geneva became very ill with cancer. It was our most successful year. We received the first ever "Standing Ovation Award", we were voted Best Theatre Troupe and Best Theatre Show by The Weekly Alibi. The Journal had voted us in there ten top shows of the year. We even had Mayor Martin Chavez declare October 6th to be "Dolls Day". Geneva lived to see all of these awards heaped upon us. She was so proud. Geneva passed away on October 18th of 2007.
It's was difficult continuing "The Dolls" without Geneva but I knew it was important to Matt that I continue on. I am glad that I have. I do think I've taken The Dolls in a different direction but I think that is a good thing. I believe that you have to change and mix things up in order to continue going.
The past few years, I have done such classics as "The Bad Seed" and Charles Busch's "Die Mommie Die" and such original works as "Christmas at the Yucca Vista" and "Murders at the Drag Morgue". We really got ambitious and decided to take on Wilde with "The Importance Of Being Earnest".
This Halloween we decided to have the audience be a part of the show with a campy revival of "Carrie".
The upcoming Christmas show is going to be at The Vortex and is entitled "Revenge of the Nutcracker".