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Drag Legends Perform In Vegas

| Aug 8, 2011
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Back in the days before a drag show was just someone  in a big wig lip synching to a cassette of Madonna there were female impersonators who could make you think that the great female stars were performing right there in front of you. These legends of female impersonation didn’t mime to someone’s recorded music. They sang in natural sounding feminine tones that often captured the exact sound of the person they were impersonating.

There were only a few venues around the U. S. that featured a full stage, theatrical lighting and the aforementioned drag legends performing to packed houses every week. One of those was Finocchio’s in San Francisco.

Among the brightest lights to grace the Finocchio’s stage were David de Alba and Lavern Cummings. Both sang like angels and when de Alba appeared as Judy Garland the crowd was swiftly transported over the rainbow to a magic land. Finocchio’s closed its doors in 1999. Fortunately the history of that FI palace will not be forgotten. The legends, David de Alba and Lavern Cummings, will be live onstage at the Onyx Theater in Las Vegas on August 21st. de Alba and Cummings will be interviewed about the glory days of Finicchio’s and both will perform some of their signature songs. (Not in drag.) Lavern hasn’t sung professionally since she retired and this will be the first time the two performers have appeared on stage since the ’80s.

David de Alba

The show on the 21st will also include rare video shot at Finocchio’s, and the pair will be given certificates to acknowledge their induction into the TGForum Gallery of Greats. (Lavern’s Gallery is here and David’s is here.)

Then, on September 18th de Alba returns in full glamor mode to The Onyx Theater with his one man show, Finocchio Club Backstage Memoirs. The show will feature de Alba’s amazing voice as he recreates the characters that made him famous and gives the audience all the dish on what went on backstage at the famous club.

If you want a dose of real female impersonation and voices that will make you ask, “Is that live or is it Memorex?” (You have to be an oldie to get that reference) then you won’t want to miss both these shows. The August interview show is “donation suggested” and the September show is $10.

The Onyx Theater
953 E. Sahara #16
Las Vegas, Nevada
Box Office: 702-732-7225

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Category: Transgender Community News, Transgender Fun & Entertainment, Transgender History


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

Comments (5)

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  1. PS: ***** CORRECTION *****

    I had a mental typo going! It was Paul–David’s friend–who made the shortcake!

    The heat will do that in Las Vegas! LOL!

    Sorry about that!



  2. Amen, Carollyn! I met David at the Diva Las Vegas event last April. We had dinner together, and he was so sweet to serenade me right there in the restaurant! Even the other restaurant patrons applauded as he sang to me from the heart, and I felt so special!
    The week of the September show I will be in Holland on business, but I have it planned to fly to Las Vegas on Saturday, come to the show on Sunday, and get home Monday morning.
    On my more recent trip to Las Vegas in June, David was so kind to invite me to his house. This is a veritable museum of photos of David, Lavern, and others in costume of famous ladies as well real promotional photos from these same famous people autographing their photos with dedications to David! What a treat to see! And Lavern made us a lovely and delicious strawberry shortcake!
    I have my tickets to the September show, and I encourage all to see this historic performance.
    I wish I could see both shows, but August has been busy!
    See you all at the show!

  3. says:

    If you are in Las Vegas August 21, seeing David and Lavern’s “Now and Then” show is a MUST. David and Lavern are “icons” and dear friends. Even though I will not be able to attend the show, I have been honored to produce the video opening for the show. David and Lavern will not be dressed as female impersonators, but will take you back to their performing days with film clips, songs and a few surprises. So, go and enjoy. Best wishes to David and Lavern. Love, CC

  4. says:

    Like everything else in our world, the art of female impersonation has evolved through the years. Through all these changes, there is always a feeling of nostalgia for the way things were then. And so, for the older generation, female impersonators who could sing live and perform faithful imitations of stars, they were the very best. The last two survivors of the Finocchio Club are such exemplary examples of the talent of yesteryear, and we will have the opportunity to see them in the two upcoming shows at the Onyx Theater.

    One of them, David de Alba, a dear friend of mine, is still very active performing this almost extinct art form in all of its glory to old and new audiences. Armed with just a microphone, a glass of water and a stool, David can charm and delight drag aficionados. I should add that his new upcoming show “Finocchio Backstage Memoirs” promises to be a smashing success.
    Break a leg, David!

  5. cuban legend cuban legend says:


    Thank you so much to you Angela Gardner for your very kind written piece on Lavern Cummings and myself (David de Alba.)

    To those TG folks out there who may not be acquainted with my theatrical work I want you to know that after I left Finocchio’s in the Year 1989 I have still done many solo concert performances in many states I lived at such as: Albuquerque, New Mexico, Phoenix, Arizona Laughlin,Nevada, and then here in Las Vegas where I have been residing for over seven years now…and here especially in Las Vegas I have done several concerts…all of this is documented on my Web site at:

    Please visit me there and send me if you wish an e-mail c/o [email protected] because it is always very nice to hear from someone new who appreciates my Art Form.

    By the way, it will mean a lot to me also if there are any older TG folks in the Las Vegas area who perhaps have been to Finocchio’s at one time or another, or at least heard of it, ……and if you please would honor me to be present at these two upcoming shows of mine at The Onyx Theater in Las Vegas… can go directly to the official website of that theater and read all about my two shows and even make reservations anytime and that way you can get the better seats of the house!

    I thank you ……and God bless!,

    From David de Alba.

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