RIGHT NOW WITH RUSSELL: Wright State grad to compete on upcoming ‘Drag Race’



RuPaul’s Werk Room has a dynamic slice of Dayton in its delightful den of divas.

Drag queen Amanda Tori Meating, performed by 2018 Wright State University musical theatre graduate and 2014 Stivers School for the Arts graduate Philip Stock, is among the Season 16 cast of the Emmy Award-winning reality TV hit “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”



In a sneak peek of the season premiere, which will air at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, 2024 on MTV, Amanda’s “executive realness” is on fire:

“I’m blonde, glamorous and selling it for a very fair price on Hollywood Boulevard,” they said.

In addition to appearing as Angel in the national tour of “Kinky Boots,” the New York-based Muse Machine alum’s credits include the Human Race Theatre Company’s production of “Torch Song Trilogy,” Wright State’s production of “Angels in America: Millenium Approaches” and Dayton Theatre Guild’s production of “Lost in Yonkers.”

Whether you’re a fan of “Drag Race” or curious to see what all the fuss is about, don’t miss your chance to watch Amanda slay to compete for the $200,000 grand prize and the title of “America’s Drag Queen Superstar.”

Here’s what else you need to know right now:

“So You Think You Can Dance” returns in March

Fox’s fantastic dance competition “So You Think You Can Dance” returns for Season 18 beginning Monday, March 4, 2024.

The series has not returned since the death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss in December 2022. Boss memorably served on the judging panel and was Season 4 runner-up in 2008.

The new season will feature two new judges, Allison Holker Boss, “SYTYCD” All-Star and Stephen’s wife, and “Dancing With the Stars” alum Maks Chmerkovskiy, along with returning judge Nigel Lythgoe. “SYTYCD” All-Star Comfort Fedoke will also serve on the judging panel in the auditions round. Longtime host Cat Deeley will also return.

“Reindeer Games” brings “Big Brother” back for the holidays

“Big Brother: Reindeer Games” is shaping up to be an exciting mini-season based on the nine former houseguests who will battle to win a $100,000 prize beginning at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11 on CBS.

Fan favorites Cody Calafiore, Nicole Franzel, Frankie Grande, Taylor Hale, Cameron Hardin, Britney Haynes, Josh Martinez, Xavier Prather, and Danielle Reyes are set to participate.

Credit: Russell Florence

Credit: Russell Florence

The six-episode series will air Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, concluding Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.

Alicia Keys’ new musical heading to Broadway

Following a sold-out run off-Broadway this fall, Alicia Keys’ semi-autobiographical musical “Hell’s Kitchen” will open on Broadway April 20, 2024. The coming-of-age story of family, music, race and dreaming big in New York City features familiar tunes from the Grammy winner’s acclaimed R&B songbook. In an extremely crowded, overloaded season, “Hell’s Kitchen” has the clout to become a serious, mainstream contender for the Tony, especially if it scores one of the coveted slots for Best Musical.

Credit: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

Credit: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

Jennifer Lopez to star in film version of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” musical

Jennifer Lopez didn’t have much luck wooing Oscar voters with her performance in “Hustlers,” but she’s preparing for another chance to impress in a role that seems more suited to her triple threat abilities.

According to Variety, Lopez will portray film star Aurora in the big screen adaptation of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s outstanding, 1993 Tony-winning musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” based on Manuel Puig’s novel of the same name. In the dark yet beautifully tuneful tale, Aurora is adored by Molina, a gay window dresser sharing a cell in an Argentine prison with Valentin, a political revolutionary. As a means of mental escape, Molina shares his love of film with Valentin, but is fearful of Aurora in her scariest role as The Spider Woman.

Aurora was originated on Broadway by Chita Rivera, who won a Tony for her performance. The film will be directed by Academy Award winner Bill Condon (”Dreamgirls”). Filming is expected to begin in April 2024.

Golden Globe nominations approach

We’ll have a better idea which films will factor into the Oscar race when the Golden Globe nominations are revealed Monday, Dec. 11. Expect numerous nominations for stunningly directed period films such as “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Oppenheimer,” but blockbuster “Barbie” will be in the mix and deservedly so. And as always, expect a few surprises! The 81st annual Golden Globes will air at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024 on CBS.

Right Now with Russell spotlights pop culture every Friday and as news arises. From the latest in film, music, books and TV to the buzz of awards season and other hot button topics, the goal is to fill you in on what’s new in order to satisfy your entertainment cravings. He can be reached at Russell.Florence@coxohio.com.

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