She'll Drink to That
Back in 2014, MargOH! Channing announced on Facebook that, after more than 20 years of performing professionally, she was planning to hang up her heels at the end of 2015. Cut to 2016, when Channing is readying to debut her latest show.
“That post was after I had a date with Mr. José Cuervo—you know he is a friend of mine,” the drag veteran admits. “He made me say those things through the bottom of a rocks glass. In the end I did take a bit of a break to recharge the old batteries—and tour the Champagne regions of France.”
Channing describes MargOH! Channing Is Uncorked, which plays January 28 and February 4 at Pangea with special guests like Randy Jones and Nellie McKay, as an “unconventional cabaret with a mix of storytelling, original songs, sloshy standards, and a splash of heart.” Channing, the creation of MAC Award-nominated performer BT Shea, has often been compared to Justin Bond’s drunken diva alter ego Kiki DuRane. “Uncorked is on that trajectory—but more fermented,” she says.
Are you catching all the alcohol metaphors here? If it’s still unclear that the lady loves her libations, Channing will be joined in Uncorked by her longtime sidekick and companion, MAN-ee Champagne. “He’s sexy, he has a fabulous voice, and he refills my drinks. Who could ask for anything more?”
No surprise that New York’s resident “boozy chanteuse” takes her greatest inspiration from the late Judy Garland. In fact, she cut her drag teeth paying tribute to Garland and her daughter Liza Minnelli. “My mother was always playing Judy’s music, and I started impersonating her on stage—and at Macy’s to get free dresses,” says Channing, who hails from Bangor, Maine. “Judy gave me my voice in performance and the courage to sing out. I know it’s a cliché, but I know many queens she helped save through the power of her voice and soul.”
Miss Channing may be here to stay, but is there a chance she’d ever sober up? “You never know,” she says. “My next show could be called MargOH! on the Wagon, but that’s only if we run out of booze. For now it’s Uncorked every single day.”
MargOH! Channing Is Uncorked, January 28 and February 4 at Pangea, 178 Second Ave (11th/12th Sts); $20-$30 (plus $20 food/drink minimum). Visit pangeanyc.com for more info.