The Kinsey Sicks Bring Dragapella back to Lake Tahoe
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
Los Angeles-based a capella comedy group The Kinsey Sicks is no stranger to making jaws drop.
The beautyshop quartet has created a name for itself in the off-Broadway circuit for their provocative brand of satire, delivered to audiences via beehives and bouffants, horn-rimmed glasses, mid-century dresses and enough magenta eye-makeup to make a rainbow blush.
Founded 25 years ago by Ben Schatz and a few colleagues at a Bette Midler concert (the whole story is told in their performance), the group has since harmonized all over the world, bringing a new kind of drag and political commentary to audiences everywhere.
From Sept. 26-28, Tahoe will get a taste — however sweet or salty — of the Kinsey Sicks as they drop into The Loft Theatre in Heavenly Village with their hilarious, and sometimes poignant, performance titled “Things You Shouldn’t Say.”
The tour marks the group’s 25th anniversary, and is Tahoe’s last chance to watch remaining founding member, Ben Schatz, perform as Rachel. Completing the effervescent quartet is Nathan Marken as Winnie, Jeff Manabat as Trixie, and Spencer Brown as Trampolina.
We had a chance to sit down with Jeff, Nathan, and Ben and Spencer’s alter egos Rachel and Trampolina, to learn more about what they look forward to when they visit Tahoe, and what audiences can expect from their three-night residency.
Lake Tahoe Action: What do you, and the Kinsey Sicks, enjoy doing in Tahoe while you’re in town?
Jeff: Honestly, one of the best spots to hit is the same place that hosts your favorite Dragapella beauty shop quartet — The Loft! The food and wine offerings at their restaurant are delicious, and the lounge area is perfect for that post-a cappella aperitif.
Nathan: I love taking in the incredible nature of South Lake Tahoe. I’ve been snowboarding up here during the winter months, but in the warmer months, I love to hike up past Heavenly Village into Nevada and enjoy the fabulous vista of the lake. The clear air is truly invigorating and a terrific escape from the city.
Rachel: I am very fond of my g-spot. I enjoy looking for it in Tahoe and anywhere else I go. Who wants to help?
Trampolina: I like the big body of water that’s there. I can never remember its name.
Action: This is Lake Tahoe’s last chance to catch the Kinsey Sicks perform with original founding member Ben Schatz. How will things shift for the group after this tour?
Jeff: You can’t get rid of her that easily! Though he’ll be retiring from touring life, Ben will stay on as chief writer and lyricist of the group, so our special madcap activist spirit will remain intact as new content is being created. We are very excited to step into this new future.
Nathan: That’s a huge topic that we are reserving for our group therapist, BUT I can tell you that we will be introducing a new, equally-lovable character to fill out our Dragapella quartet.
Rachel: I can’t tell you what a thrill it will be for the audience when the group replaces me with someone who actually has talent.
Action: Beneath the sky-high wigs, makeup and polka dots lies an important, poignant message. How has music and comedy helped in communicating it?
Nathan: Comedy and music in particular have a way of disarming people so they listen differently than just ranting or pontificating to them. Music expresses feelings and thoughts that mere spoken word cannot convey, and when we make people laugh about the absurdities of our political climate through a song — be it about racism or misogyny or personal loss — their brain literally changes. What was once an abstract thought becomes something they can feel in their body and heart, and that’s truly powerful.
Action: What’s been the most rewarding thing to happen on your current “Things You Shouldn’t Say” tour?
Jeff: For me, the most rewarding thing has been to see audiences reacting to this show so positively. There’s a crazy mix of laughter, tears, affection, indignation, inspiration and empowerment in the air whenever and wherever we’ve done this show. We’re so excited to bring this experience to Tahoe.
Rachel: We recently did a gig in which we actually got paid.
Trampolina: We get paid?
Catch the Kinsey Sicks at The Loft Theatre Sept. 26 -28 at 9 p.m. Visit http://www.TheLoftTahoe.com to learn more or buy tickets.