Dirty Dorothy: no place like home at Missie B's.
"The character started as a party trick; 'Make Dorothy say ...' then insert whatever the person wanted to hear," explains Dressler. "I was later involved with Late Night Theatre and the amazing Ron Megee, and Dorothy grew to a backstage/dressing room show where the actors would 'ask Dorothy' about what really went on in Oz."
If you've been entrenched in the Kansas City gay bar scene for a few years, odds are you've probably seen various versions of the Dorothy Show in several spots. Those who cherish fond memories from countless nights at Bar Natasha should recall the live singing drag show called the Girlie Show. Dressler, as Dorothy, emceed. That's when the moniker 'Dirty Dorothy' became official.
When that show closed, Dressler kept Dirty Dorothy alive for another stage show, this time at Sidekicks. Dressler's friend Spencer Brown (Daisy Bucket) had a show called The Madness Show. When he was cast as Trampolina in The Kinsey Sicks, he asked Dressler to fill in as host. From there, Dressler and some of that show's cast moved on to Missie B's, where they launched The Dirty Dorothy Show.
"My cast is truly amazing, and we have a blast together!" says Dressler.
The Dirty Dorothy character has evolved with each venue. "At Bar Natasha, it was an ensemble show, so she was far more subdued," Dressler says. "At Sidekicks, the show was absolute fantastic chaos, and she was more raucous. At Missie B's, I have more of a platform to work like a stand-up comedian, which is what I have found I enjoy the most."
Dressler has been taking her show on the road too. She's made regular appearances at the Fantasy Complex in Wichita over the past several months and recently at Wilde's Chateau 24 in Lawrence.
The show itself gets better and better, all thanks to Dressler and the cast. Currently, the show has about 24 different performers throughout the month. The Saturday night show in particular has a revolving cast. The Sunday night show includes cast members that Dressler has worked with consistently for the last five years: Astro the Clown, Genewa Stanwyk 'The Whore of '84,' and the cast member Dressler's worked with the longest - Connie Carlysle. "As that cast has been together the longest, I'd say we evolve together as each of our characters continue to become more defined," says Dressier.
Those who have seen the show at Missie B's know how crazy the atmosphere can get, but no one knows better than Dressler. She's seen it all, and most of the time, she's been in on the chaos. "We've had drag sumo wrestling on Chinese New Year, a drag watermelon eating contest on Labor Day," she says. "Connie and I have ridden a mechanical bull together on more than one occasion - and yes she was in perfect 50's drag."
On more than one occasion, Dressler says, Drag Wrestling has happened; though it is a rare occasion lately. "We're all getting older and bruise more!" she explains. All these events keep the audience - and cast themselves - entertained. "We definitely don't let ourselves get bored. If that ever happened, we'd probably quit," says Dressler.
Beyond the shows, future plans include the launch of The Dirty Dorothy Collection, a full line of merchandise. Dressier says they've had a soft launch of limited greeting cards and t-shirts available at Birdsings on the Plaza and other grocery and novelty stores. After the first of the year, the full line will be available.
For Dressler, there's no place like Missie B's, where she feels like family. "From bar back to bartender to security to drag queen! I love everybody so much, work doesn't feel like work. My cast is one of my favorite groups of creative people I've been lucky enough to work with ... we have a ball together."
Anyone who might be nervous that Dressler will retire Dirty Dorothy and those ruby red slippers needn't fret. "The slippers are still quite comfortable on my feet, so absolutely no plans of retiring them anytime soon," says Dressler. "Someday I may wish to retreat back to black and white, but for now Technicolor is where it's at!"
The Dirty Dorothy Show Upcoming Events:
Jan. 25th at the Fantasy Complex in Wichita: with special guest Roxie French
For shows at Missie B's, visit www.missiebs.com
By Ciara Reid, staff reporter