Dennis Porter’s improvisational audience-participation drag show, Ruby’s High School Reunion, is coming to the Westport Bowery on February 23 and 24. This is the second production following the show’s premiere in Lawrence last October.
The show is staged as if it were a real high school reunion and everyone in attendance went to high school together, regardless of the age difference between performers and audience members. The entire show company and audience together embody the fantasy for an evening of impromptu fun.
“There’s definitely no fourth wall there,” says Porter of Ruby’s High School Reunion. “Throughout the show, we interact by getting to know and catch up with the people we went to high school with, so the people in the audience become characters.”
While this is only the second staging of Ruby’s High School Reunion, Porter is no stranger to live performances. According to Porter, he has been paid to improvise with Comedy City for over 15 years, has been a clown for over 30 years, performed as a magician, and was Radio Disney’s host/deejay for their live events in Kansas City for several years. . He also produced and acted in his own drag/clown show, Cirque du Gay, at the KC Fringe Festival.
These days, Porter owns and operates Happy Faces Entertainment as a way to showcase his variety of live entertainment capabilities. Happy Faces Entertainment hosts interactive and engaging events, including children’s programs such as “Super Friends to the Rescue” and “Under the Big Top” and programs for teens and adults, including “Say What”, “Mad Skillz” and live mystery of the murder is shown through KC Mystery Players. Happy Faces Entertainment programs are often introduced in schools, workplaces and other communities as team building exercises.
Porter’s drag character, Ruby Hellena Basket, grew out of one of the murder mystery shows about 15 years ago, for which the company was short on female cast members. As a result, Dennis was first dragged. Porter fell in love with the character and developed Ruby from there.
“Ruby is the ‘sweet queen,’” says Porter. “We never belittled anyone, which some humorists like to do.”
Porter prioritizes audience involvement in all of his performances. While his job is to make people laugh, he doesn’t take responsibility lightly.
“My passion and goal in life is to make people smile and laugh,” says Porter. “I can let people forget the world maybe for a few seconds in a parade, maybe five minutes in a drag show, maybe an hour and a half in a stage show, however long. They just have to forget about it, have fun, laugh and smile, and that’s what I’m here to do. And depending on the audience, it depends on how I do it.
Ruby’s High School Reunion will take place at The Westport Bowery on Thursday 23rd February and Friday 24th February from 7-9pm. Tickets can be booked online.