Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Cashetta produces a showgirl from a crystal box
If You Go
- Who: Cashetta in “Magic’s a Drag”
- When: Opens Saturday, 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays
- Where: Krave nightclub, Harmon Avenue at the Strip
- Tickets: $44.95 general admission and $59.95 VIP, which includes an all-you-can-drink wristband
- Information: 836-0836
Beyond the Sun
Cashetta takes up a lot of room.
The female impersonator and magician from New Jersey reminds one of Divine, the oversized female impersonator from Baltimore who starred in such John Waters films as “Pink Flamingos” and “Hairspray.”
About 6 feet in stockings, Cashetta is fond of high-heeled shoes and a blond beehive hairdo that make her look 7 feet tall.
Her actual dimensions?
“Big and beautiful,” she purrs. “Just leave it at that. I’m a lot of lady. I’m a big girl.”
At first glance she looks big enough to play offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But instead of football pads, she’s clad in a form-fitting black dress that accentuates massive curves. At Saturday’s premiere of her show, “Magic’s a Drag,” expect to see her in a flowing pink feather-boa-like coat and a huge purple top hat, her take on formal magician’s attire.
For a moment it looked like the Strip was going to be without a drag show.
After 24 years “La Cage,” which featured a dozen female impersonators, abruptly closed last week. “Lucky Cheng’s,” a drag queen dinner theater at Krave nightclub, closed on Valentine’s Day after a three-year run.
But suddenly, flamboyant Cashetta announced the premiere of a one man, er woman, er person, magic-comedy show.
The magical drag production will have an open-ended run, with performances at 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays in the space formerly occupied by “Lucky Cheng’s.”
“I just found out about ‘La Cage,’ ” says 38-year-old Scott Weston, Cashetta’s real name. “It was a shock. The show has had incredible success. I admire the show immensely and I have nothing but admiration for Frank Marino (star of ‘La Cage’). What a fabulous career.
“But what we do is so different that even if the show had not closed there would have been room for both of us.”
What Cashetta does is a combination of stand-up comedy and magic, a cabaret show that she has taken around the world. And now she’s in Vegas, just in time to fill a void.
“I’m very lucky,” she says. “To come to town in December and have it happen so quickly. It’s unheard of in this town, to land such a deal so quickly. I’m very, very grateful for it.”
And she did it without four-walling, a common practice in Vegas today in which a performer rents a room.
Cashetta’s decades-old dream has been to have a Vegas show.
“I never thought of any other career,” says Cashetta, who grew up in New Jersey, near Manhattan. “I always knew it would be entertainment. I had always expected to be on Broadway. That’s what I wanted more than anything, but the closer I got to it and saw it for what it was, the idea became less desirable. It’s a tough life.”
And so she looked for a career that would make her stand out.
Her first experience with female impersonation was working at Lips, a Manhattan restaurant that featured drag entertainment.
She became a female impersonator, a stand-up comedian who also was a jazz singer.
“I did a lot of song parodies and it just started to take off,” Cashetta says. “I was singing in jazz clubs all over New York. I was having a great time in the mid-’90s. There was kind of an explosion in the drag scene there.”
She looked for other ways to stand out and decided on magic.
“I was interested in magic when I was a kid,” Cashetta says.
She spent the summer in Vegas 10 years ago working as a makeup artist and attending the magic shows, studying the magicians. When she returned to New York she began studying magic and three months later landed a gig at the Fez jazz club as a drag magician.
“Honestly, it was not very good,” Cashetta says.
But she knew she was onto something, developed her act and became a success, working steadily on cruise ships and clubs in Europe and the United States.
“But I always knew I would end up in Las Vegas,” she says. “New York is like an abusive lover. They make you think you can never live without them — but when I left New York it was amazing, more doors opened for me. I realized so much more was going on outside of New York.”
Cashetta says the show has no agenda.
“The fact that I’m in drag is incidental,” she says. “It’s just a way to have a larger than life character. Nothing about my character is overbearing. I try to be warm and friendly.”