Men dressed as women performing in primetime? In downtown Fort Worth? Raising money for a good cause?
A local drag show is becoming as conventional as cowboys and culture albeit with a tad more glitter.
MyOhMy – The Show features men dressing, singing, and dancing as Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Pink, Tina Turner, and others. The shows are loud, colorful, raucous, and risqué but hardly offensive. The shows start early – 7:30 p.m. – and are over before 10. They’re held on Fridays at Downtown Live, the former home of Fort Worth Live on Houston Street.
The room holds about 125 audience members, and on any given night more than half are women and a large majority are heterosexual, said MyOhMy founder Robert Burke, who grew up in Fort Worth.
“Drag shows are very entertaining and pretty popular right now, but if you want to see a drag show in most cities, you have to go to a gay club, and most of them are late at night, 11 or midnight,” Burke said. “A lot of people don’t feel comfortable going to a gay club. A lot of people are not out at midnight. Our niche market is for people who just want to go see an entertaining show.”
For the past year, the shows – a mix of comedy, music, and audience participation – had been held at Cassidy’s, the bar at the Radisson Hotel on Meacham Boulevard. Burke liked the venue but couldn’t resist relocating to Downtown Live when it became available recently.
“I used to live in downtown Fort Worth, and I love the energy there,” Burke said. “It’s clean and safe. The room is the ideal size for us. It’s a unique place. It just seemed to be the perfect fit.”
The show helps raise money for a charity dear to Burke’s heart – BrycesHouse. In 2017, Burke established a thrift store that provided free clothing to families in need and called it BrycesHouse after his son, Christopher Bryce Burke. The boy was born in 1998 and almost two years later developed a metabolic disorder that caused seizures and lifelong brain damage. Bryce couldn’t walk or talk for the rest of his life. In 2016, he died at 20.
After Bryce’s initial diagnosis at 19 months, Burke learned that a simple and inexpensive test could have been performed on Bryce as an infant that could have detected his genetic disorder and probably prevented his seizures and brain damage. Back then, however, only one state required such testing on infants.
Burke has worked to bring attention to the tests ever since.
“At the time Bryce passed away, every state in the country now has mandatory tests for these disorders, like the one that affected Bryce,” Burke said. “We like to think telling Byrce’s story – and Bryce’s life – played a role in that. It is something he can be very proud of. He helped other children and other families not have to go through this.”
During MyOhMy shows, the cast holds raffles and sells T-shirts to raise money for BrycesHouse. The thrift store closed recently, but the charity continues raising money to spread the word about the importance of infant testing.
“We are in the process of filming a TV commercial that will air nationwide and raise money for hospitals that are part of the Children’s Miracle Network,” which includes Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Burke said.