Two Kings and a Queen adds a masculine touch to Rochester drag scene
The new drag troupe, established in late 2022, puts the drag kings on the throne and spotlight.
ROCHESTER — Rochester’s newest drag performance troupe Two Kings and a Queen are two-for-two with sellout brunch performances so far.
They’re trying for three in a row at Forager Brewery this Sunday.
Tia Avion, who performs as Lola Honey, said she has enjoyed opportunities to perform with Rochester Girls and other area drag groups and shows. However, she wanted to create more opportunities for drag kings to perform.
“I felt (Reggie) was underplayed as a performer,” she said.
Reggie Parker, who performs as Reggie, is the longest performing drag performer of the trio.
Combined, the two trans drag performers have about 48 years of performing experience.
They’re joined by Danielle Riehl, who performs as Smoque to round out the royal trio.
“It’s known, no matter what, the kings are a little under represented,” Parker said. “This right here gives us a chance to show there are kings along with queens and everything in between.”
“We wanted to kick in the door and change the face of drag,” Avion said.
Parker began performing decades ago in Chicago before moving to Minnesota. Performing, sewing and creating costumes are a creative outlet for the soft-spoken Parker.
Parker enjoys turning thrift finds into performance costumes. He also helps Riehl sew costumes she creates.
Costumes are key, but so is the passion behind the performances, Parker said.
“You’ve got to feel it,” he said.
Avion came to Minnesota four years ago from California and has been performing drag about half her life, she said. She calls both the king performers her “brothers.”
Riehl began performing last year in part from the encouragement of her wife despite some insecurities.
Watching drag performances was also a catalyst, she said.
“I think I just saw in the performers on stage something giving them freedom and joy in performing,” she said.
Group manager Jennifer Goodwill through help from artist Tierney Parker secured brunch performance dates at Forager Brewery. Each performance has featured the two kings and one queen along with guest performers.
They also continue to perform with other area drag troupes individually. While they said they knew they would find success, the sellout brunches were still a pleasant surprise.
“It’s humbling and a little scary too,” Avion said. “I didn’t know we’d — bam — sell out — bam — sell out.”
The crowd has been encouraging and engaging too, they added.
“They don’t just sit back and watch,” Riehl said.
Riehl said she tries to find audience members who seem most into the show and grab them for a short dance.
“I always had more fun at drag shows dancing right along with them,” she said.
The group is putting together a show for Rochester Pride on May 20.
The next Two Kings and a Queen drag show is Sunday, Feb. 26 at Forager.
If you go
What: Two Kings and a Queen drag brunch.
When: 10 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 26.
Where: Forager Brewery, 1005 Sixth St. NW.
How much: $10 available at 2kingsandaqueen.ticketleap.com.