TRANSGENDER ROLE MODELS
by Marlayna Lacie
It's been twenty years
since the legendary "La Cage" show first opened at the
very 'drag friendly' Las Vegas Riviera Hotel and Casino
on September 18th 1985. Sceptical casino owners first
booked the show for only a three month run, but business
mogul Norbert Aleman and determined twenty year old, Frank
Marino both knew this was show was a winner. The rest
Frank always knew he'd
become a star. What he didn't realise is that he'd be
dressed in Bob Mackie gowns, to do so. Frank says, "climbing
the ladder of success was even harder wearing heels."
Now an accomplished author, newscaster, columnist, spokesperson,
and America's favourite "male actress". His ten year,
ten million dollar contract makes him the longest running
headliner in Las Vegas. If you haven’t seen "La Cage"
starring Frank Marino, I suggest you make your reservations
ASAP. The show is a fast paced, energetic show in which
a fabulous cast of female impersonators recreate a galaxy
of stars. Frank entertains with dialogue and ad-libs in
the persona of Joan Rivers with a change of costume between
each and every act from a wardrobe which even the late
Liberace would be jealous. The word is that when tourists
visit Las Vegas there are three things they come for:
gambling, a trip to the Hoover Dam, and a chance to see
Frank Marino perform in this award-winning. For more information,
call the Riviera Box Office at (702) 794-9433, or click
on either www.theriviera.com or www.frankmarino.com !
I have to congratulate you on your 20 year anniversary
at the Riviera. After 13 years at the QMSL I know a just
little bit about the hard work and sacrifices that come
with the drag/stage lifestyle. Can you tell us how you
feel after making history as the “premier drag diva” of
the 20th Century. You ARE a living legend!
Frank: I don’t know about
a living legend, but I realise I have made a mark and
opened the door for other female impersonaters to take
their craft higher than some thought was possible.
M: When did the you realise
that you were not like all the other boys? F: I always
liked the female Divas and never really cared much for
the big male action starts. M: A little please about thefirst
time you got all dolled up?
F: I was 17 and it was Halloween
and I got dressed up like the supreme diva Diana Ross.
M: Did you date in high school
or did you know you were gay by then?
F: I always knew I was gay
from the day I was born.
M: A little about the magic!
How was it when people reacted to how hot you looked?
F: I feel people always react
to glamour and the attention you get is such a great high.
M: When did you first hit
the stage in drag doing your infamous 'Joan Rivers' impersonation?
F: After doing Diana Ross
I wanted to do something a little less challenging with
the make-up and tried Joan Rivers. I also wanted to be
a live performer and tried stand-up as Joan Rivers in
a nightclub on an open mic night.
M: Were you surprised
or relieved or both when Joan dropped her lawsuit and
you two bonded as friends?
F: I was surprised when Joan
gave me the infamous law suit and was then relieved when
we settled it. After all I was about 80 bucks short.
M: How long did you tour
and perform before you signed with the Riviera?
F: I toured for about two
years in the tri-state area and then ‘lucked out’ (got
lucky) after a Joan Rivers performance for the producers
of the ‘La Cage’ show.
M: There is always a first!
A few words about the time you wore your own Bob Mackie
F: Well, I had always heard
of Bob Mackie. But when I finally had a chance to get
one of his gowns for myself, I felt that I had really
M: A few words please about
the good times and a few about the things that you lose
when you have a career and it forces you to make sacrifices
on many levels.
F: Most of the times here
have been good. Although there are many sacrifices that
must go along with. Like not being able to see your family
or the amount of doors that close in your face when you
try to meet a guy.
M: I appears all worthwhile!
How do you feel when you look back and at the same time
look forward to the future?
F: I look back in amazement
and just smile. I could just hope the future is as bright
as the past.
M: Can you tell our readers
what they find then they visit your award-winning website
F: They will see the latest
happenings of both Fran Marino and the La Cage Show plus
some merchantry souvenirs.
M: I love your show! Please
give all those globe trekking trannies making plans of
visiting Las Vegas an update on your La Cage show at The
F: Well, we pretty much are
the Grand Divas of the 20th Century! Its a high energy,
fast paced review with a lot of Glitz and Glamour!
M: OK Frank we are gonna
call it "a wrap” for the Tranny Guide. I want to thank
you for your time and attention and I will be watching
for the UPS guy as I am hot for the Bob Mackie gown I
begged you for!