PHOTO ESSAY: ‘Dungeons & Drag Queens’ uses fantasy and hilarity on a magical journey

by Maile Anderson


I’ll admit I’m new to Dungeons & Dragons, and my first time watching the game came with a twist – with drag queens from Seattle performing the fantasy role-playing game in front of a live audience. The “Dungeons & Drag Queens” show features drag performers Jane Don’t, Issa Man and Kylie Mooncakes, all tasked with finding the gayest wizard and casting a powerful spell to bring peace to the magical kingdom. Organized by Comedy on Broadway, a local organization that promotes various entertainment, comedy and stand-up shows, the event took place at Hale’s Ales Palladium on March 3.

During the game, stand-up comedian Paul Curry played the dungeon master, narrator, and various magical creatures encountered by the queens. Improv musician Carson Grubb used his fiddle, electric guitar and keyboard to add suspense and heighten the emotions of the audience – or “peasants”, as the performers playfully called us. The dice were rolled on a projector and the journey took many hilarious twists amid enthusiastic ‘peasant’ participation. The audience was filled with die-hard D&D fans, and as someone who doesn’t know the game at all, it was a fun introduction. After this experience, I would definitely want to study the rules before playing D&D myself. In the end, the queens were able to defeat the monster with the help of the “peasants” and cast the spell they learned from the kingdom’s gayest wizard.

Dungeons & Drag Queens started as a monthly show about six months ago. Catch Jane Don’t, Issa Man and Kylie Mooncakes at the next event on Saturday, March 26 at Jai Thai on Capitol Hill. Follow the event on its official Instagram account.

Jane Don’t’s plaid outfit was a hit with the public, or as she called us, “peasants”. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Photo depicting Issa Man coming out of the wings carrying a sheet of paper.
Issa Man takes a seat after being introduced. In his hand is a list of his character’s powers. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Photo depicting the three drag queens laughing and smiling at their table.
Left to right: Issa Man, Jane Don’t and Kylie Mooncakes get in on the action. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Photo depicting Issa Man beaming with joy.
One of Issa Man’s reactions to how the trip unfolded: thrilled with their character’s powers. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Photo showing Jane Don't and Kyle Mooncakes happy at their table.
Jane Don’t (left) raises her arms in celebration as Kylie Mooncakes (right) beams. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Photo showing Carson Grubb working on his musical equipment.
Musician Carson Grubb alternated between playing electric keyboard and violin, providing the good humor and ambiance to help drive the story forward. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Photo showing Paul Curry speaking into a microphone against a colored background.
Comedian Paul Curry, Dungeon Master, narrator and multi-character player, explains the magic spell the Queens will need to bring peace to the kingdom. (Photo: Maile Anderson)
Photo of Jane Don't in a black and white checkered jumpsuit with mohawk horns and a red and white polka dot jacket taking a seat at a table with colorful microphones.
After returning from an intermission in the program, Jane Don’t (center) takes her seat and the queens prepare to continue their magical journey. (Photo: Maile Anderson)

Maile Anderson had the immense privilege of traveling to incredible places with a camera by his side. She believes that documenting the changing world, whether in the form of protests or other cultures, is important work that strengthens sensitization in this age of social justice. Follow her on IG: @tinypicturetaker.

📸 Feature Image: The Queens beam on ‘peasants’, initially hesitant to understand their role, but eventually pulled themselves together when they realized they could help defeat the game’s monsters. (Picture: Maile Anderson)

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