Mr. Drag and Karl bring their version of the Grinch to the Shea

  • Mr. Drag and Karl CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Karl and Mr. Drag CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • CONTRIBUTED IMAGE CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2019 5:04:15 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Mr. Drag and Karl are headed back to the Shea Theatre in early December to perform their annual holiday show.

The family-friendly “Mr. Drag and How the Grinch Stole Karl,” featuring many local performers from Eggtooth Unstaged, including Lindel Hart, Myka Plunkett, Maureen McElligott, Linda Tardif, Jack Golden, Monte, Enzo and Atticus Belmonte, and many more, will be performed Friday and Saturday at 7:30 each night. Joe Dulude II and Katherine Adler will return as Mr. Drag and Karl.

It is a drag show with a few jokes tucked in for adults, but enjoyable for both children and adults, Linda McInerney, artistic director of Eggtooth Productions, said. She said there will be a lot of entertainment filled with song, dance and story.

“There’s so much to learn from the traditional holiday format from the ’30s and ’40s,” Adler, who plays Karl, said. “What we do with Mr. Drag and Karl is distill the essence of the human spirit from those forms to create a modern interpretation that holds onto that earnestness and celebration of life in all it’s facets, eccentricity, sentimentality and nostalgia. We embrace the tears and the smiles with song, story and dance. The thing about my character, Karl, is that he and other characters give voice and visibility to facets of ourselves that are often kept hidden, and that we are a bit nervous to share. Karl has a sweet vulnerability and awkwardness that is totally endearing.”

Broadway makeup designer and Emmy nominee Dulude said the show is based on the favorite Seussian tale about the Grinch.

“We all know the tale of how a Grinch with bad intentions tried to steal Christmas from a town and how the town showed him that the holiday wasn’t about the material things but about spending time with each other,” Dulude said. “In our version, the Grinch has very good intentions, however misguided. He is sad to spend the holidays alone, and takes Karl so that he can have someone to spend the holidays with. He already has a big heart, he just needs to be shown that he is part of a much larger family.”

Dulude said the idea to do a drag show started as an idea that both he and Adler had when hosting their first Holiday Spectacular.

“We wanted to play off of famous entertainment duos like Laurel and Hardy, Penn and Teller, Burns and Allen,” Dulude said. “I am also inspired by old vaudeville — that form of entertainment of taking the stage in a town and entertaining the masses. Taking from Penn and Teller, we decided that Karl would be the quiet one and that Mr. Drag would be the showy one.”

Dulude said over time, the characters have grown deeper, and he and Adler have discovered a whole history to them that they couldn’t have imagined when they first started.

“Mr. Drag is not just an over-the-top performer who thinks he is the best in the world,” Dulude said. “He has a heart and truly loves Karl and could not live without him — something we explore in ‘Mr. Drag and How the Grinch Stole Karl.’ And Karl, often soft-spoken, has grown to show these amazingly beautiful emotional parts of himself. He expresses himself in dance and through a myriad of facial expressions paying homage to such incredible performers as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. He speaks loudly without speaking at all.”

Dulude said he and Adler bring a form of positive entertainment. He said movies, shows and music have always been an escape for people, and seeing and hearing any of those allows people to enter into a fantasy world for a short time while forgetting about what is happening in their lives. It allows people a moment to embrace joy.

“With all of our shows, we strive to entertain the audience and make them smile,” Dulude said. “But, we also want to be able to inject a bit of reality into our shows. Mr. Drag’s stories are not just about making jokes and telling ridiculous fables, but they also educate about history and present social and political views. I want people to walk away with a smile on their face, but with a question or thought in their mind.”

Tickets for “Mr. Drag and How the Grinch Stole Karl” are $20; free for all children under 12 years old. For tickets, visit: www.eggtooth.org.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269, or afritz@recorder.com.




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