CHARACTERS

"HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD"

Ella Fitzgerald

Judy Garland

Elvis Presley

James Brown

Edith Piaf

Marlene Dietrich

Dalida

Marilyn Monroe

Barbra Streisand

Dolly Parton

Ethel Mermain

Charli Chaplin

Mae West

"DIVAS"

Cher

Tina Turner

Liza Minnelli

Michael Jackson

Diana Ross

Madonna

Britney Spears

Beyonce

Cesaria Evora

ABBA

Kylie Minogue

Celine Dion

Freddy Mercury

Adriano Celentano

Shirley Bassey

Boney M

Bette Midler

Whitney Houston

Lady GAGA

РУССКАЯ ЭСТРАДА

Эдита Пьеха

Алла Пугачева

София Ротару

Валерий Леонтьев

Жанна Агузарова

Лепс

Борис Моисеев

Жанна Агузарова

Анжелика Варум

Леонид Агутин

Валерия

Лабутэны

Катя Лель

Вера Брежнева

Людмила Гурченко

Маша Распутина

Лайма Вайкуле

Лолита

Любовь Успеская

Надежда Кадышева

Лариса Долина

Верка Сердючка

Ирина Аллегрова

Кристина Орбакайте

Кукарская

Хава Нагила

Надежда Бабкина

ОТРЫВКИ ИЗ К/Ф:

Служебный Роман

Любовь и Голуби

Иван Васильевич меняет профессию

Приходите завтра - Фрося Бурлакова

Бременские Музыканты

Здравствуйте, я ваша тетя

Остап Бендер

Бриллиантовая Рука

Девчата

Жестокий Романс

OTHER:

Ballet

Цыганский

Belly Dance

P R E S S

 

 

Yury Ruzhyev's Viva Cabaret: Pride Edition

June 27, 2016 by Kristy O'Kelly 

Viva Cabaret: A Tribute to the Greatest Divas

If there is a city where there is no shortage of ways to spend your PRIDE (month!) it’s Toronto, but if you are overwhelmed by choices, let me make one of them simpler for you – go see Viva Cabaret, Thursday June 30th at Rivoli, it is all kinds of gay and fabulous in a sparkle-bomb package!

Viva Cabaret is a high-octane, one-man comedic drag show that offers all kinds of bang for relatively few bucks. Performer, Yury Ruzhyev features up to 20 different divas per show (AND mixes them up each show for the pleasure of repeat viewers!).His numbers range from satirical impersonations that will make you laugh out loud to skillfully executed choreography that will leave you wondering, “How the hell does he do that? – IN THOSE HEELS?!?". The special Pride Edition show will feature some of his regulars like Tina, Liza, Cher, Edith, Britney, Michael, as well as debut Judy, Freddy, Abba (and that’s about half of what you’ll see him cover!!!). His range is vast and his energy is astounding; you will not be bored for a second. I was especially impressed with the creative ways he handled all his quick changes.

To create a show worthy of honouring these legendary divas, Yury has travelled to see many of his muses live in concerts - Barbara, Cher, Madonna, Kylie, Tina, Liza (x3!!!)…, but his research doesn’t stop with history’s greats, Yury says he is equally inspired by workshop performances in student shows. No rookie to the stage, Yury has been performing since he was seven years old, yet he doesn't rest his hat on hours clocked alone, he continues to seek avenues to learn, experiment with new skills, and evolve as an artist. I'm really excited to see what he creates next. 

After Toronto Pride 2016, Yury will lay the divas down for their disco naps in order to focus on putting together a new clown show that he is bringing to Montreal in the Fall - as well as continuing to expand his repertoire of circus skills.  When asked what he wants his audience to feel at the end of his special Pride Edition show, he says (in an adorable Russian accent), “I want you to leave feeling inspired to do something liberating in order to feel more like oneself.”  I wonder what more anyone could ask of a PRIDE experience?

“Reality is something you rise above.” Liza Minnelli

NOTE: Yury isn't giving the Divas up forever, although he will no longer be producing the Viva Cabaret on a monthly basis, you can still book him (and all his fantastic divas) for shows and/or private events (just in case you really can't get to the ONE NIGHT ONLY pride edition show).  

 

REVIEW FROM MOONEY ON THEATRE

 

By Jeremy Gardiner

The Rivoli’s Viva Cabaret takes the stage and Kicks Off Toronto’s WorldPride In Campy Style

Viva Cabaret, performed by Yury Ruzhyev at The Rivoli on July 25 and 26, was an absolutely delightful cabaret drag show and the perfect way to kick off Pride weekend a day early. Ruzhyev performs numbers from a dozen of pop music’s greatest Divas with great accuracy and rapidity, making for a night of madcap comedy.

The show itself combines two good-time events: a drag show and a cabaret. Both encourage audience participation and both rely on strong, fun, energetic performances to be great. Ruzhyev takes advantage of these art forms to create a highly energetic, highly engaging show.

Ruzhyev’s great range is proved by his ability to play all of these Divas convincingly regardless of race or gender. Whether it’s getting Whitney Houston’s head-jerking just right or playing a Liza Minnelli who is distinctly different when she is old and when she is young, the man can do no wrong.

I loved Ruzhyev’s Edith Piaf who practically threw herself off-stage to get to her audience singing “La Vie En Rose” and his Marlene Dietrichwho was slinky and sexy in her masculine pantsuit. Both characters emphasized Ruzhyev’s European take on the Diva review show.

It was also refreshing to see Ruzhyev play men too; drag performers so rarely do impressions of people of their own gender. Ruzhyev’s wonderful Freddie Mercury earned a huge applause when he returned to the stage wearing a cape made out of a Pride flag. And Ruzhyev’s dance background was particularly apparent when he danced “Billy Jean” as Michael Jackson.

And, although he barely needs them to get the characters across, the costumes are spot on throughout the show. Cher’s over-the-top body suit and Beyonce’s gold lamé dress are standouts in a slew of dresses and other costumes that continually shock and amaze.

Seeing Viva Cabaret was such a fun night out and I would happily see another show with Ruzhyev again. In his closing speech, Ruzhyev celebrated the fact that he will become a Canadian citizen tomorrow, thanks to his act keeping him employed in Canada. It’s unsurprising that someone as funny and talented as Ruzhyev can make a living from this act.

Judging by the constant hooting and hollering of the audience, they all loved the show as much as I did. This was the first drag show the friend I brought along with me had ever seen, and she wants to go see another one immediately. It’s just too bad we can’t go see this show again.

The few who got to see the show while it was running are truly lucky, although I somehow doubt that we won’t be seeing another similar show from Ruzhyev sometime soon.

I’d like to offer my personal congratulations to Ruzhyev on an excellent show and on his attaining Canadian citizenship. Welcome to being a Canadian and I hope to see you on stage again soon!

 

VIVA CABARET is not (a) drag 

Posted by Drew Rowsome at Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Rivoli is packed to capacity for Yury Ruzhyev's Viva Cabaret. It is an intriguing crowd composed of gay men (mainly in groups and tilting towards the picket-fence element of the community), office parties (mainly straight and definitely well-lubricated in search of a good time), and families (including a few very energetic and enthusiastic children who were eager to dance, sing along and be noticed). I had to readjust my expectations: Viva Cabaret is not a drag show, it is something very different.

I should have taken note when Ruzhyev made it clear that what he does is not drag - he believes that drag is about an outrageous character - but rather impersonation. And if those impersonations cross gender lines, that is part of the fun. While the audience admires the impersonational skill, they are also constantly reminded that underneath the quick costume changes and sequins, is Yury Ruzhyev. The lip-synching is exaggerated and frequently off; there are asides to the audience whenever something goes wrong (sometimes deliberately for that circus effect where the illusion and amount of risk is enhanced by acknowledgement and deliberate subterfuge; sometimes because there are, sadly, technological limitations to theatre in a cabaret setting); some of the quick costume changes are made right in front of the audience. The effect is to put the audience firmly on Ruzhyev's side - we not only root for him and want him to exceed: we are drawn into his world and are conspirators.

While highly entertaining - the first half seems to contain new material being tested, but the second half is slick and speeds along at a steady uptempo disco pace - Viva Cabaret also raised dozens of intriguing questions that I hope I get the chance to discuss with Ruzhyev before the next production. This version opens with a clown - my personal references were to Cirque du Soleil and Slava's Snow Show but I suspect there is a Russian clown tradition that would add depth to my reaction - carrying a lantern and inviting us into another world. Many of the impersonations appear to be based on the clown tradition and it is a charming, intriguing approach. But then many of the divas we love - yes, Liza Minnelli alas - have evolved into clowns, revelling in their status as a living caricature and mocking their own foibles.

Sexuality is only touched on - despite Ruzhyev's inherent sexiness and frequent flesh-baring, this is impersonation that is safe for delicate family sensibilities - but still manages to trangress. Though the audience has already been informed that these are impersonations - they hyper-male James Brown, Freddy Mercury, Elvis and Prince had been incarnated - the female impersonations received uneasy to gut-busting laughs when males in the audience were flirted with. When the aggressive Bjork (a hilarious and wonderfully off-centre creation) fondled the straight (I'm assuming) man seated at the table next to me, he appeared to be appalled, aroused and terrified in equal measure. Then - literally shaking with laughter, fear or desire - made a big show of puffing his chest and hugging his female date. It's been a long time since I, living in a bubble, even considered that crossing gender and sexuality lines still terrify some. Drag in a gay club is quite a different construct than drag/female impersonation in a predominantly straight cabaret setting.

Viva Cabaret functions as a showcase for Ruzhyev's limber physicality - his dance training shows - and eagerness to please. A little subtle editing and outside direction would smooth off the rough edges but also, alas, might erase the charm. Ruzhyev is exploring some daring ideas in the constricting format of entertainment. Where it leads will be fascinating and quite possibly fabulously subversive.

 

DOSSIER: YURY RUZHYEV FOR VIVA CABARET

Posted on December 10, 2013 by A. Gaboury 

Yury and I met this summer while attending Volcano Theatre’s Conservatory. It was a crazy, lovely, relaxing and frustrating time that I am so thankful for. It really was this perfect little escape within the city this summer. I just got off three back-to-back shows and it was so refreshing just to go into a studio and be able to play (even if all of the offered training didn’t necessarily agree with me) without any expectations. 

It was in this atmosphere that Yury and I met. There’s something so valuable about devoting all of your time and energy to study. It allows your mind freedom, lightness, and distances you enough to make connections with what you are learning to what your life has taught you up to that point. So of course, existing in this productive mental landscape, the people you meet become all that more interesting. Yury and I (and some other friends) bonded over diner food and beer between classes while dissecting exactly what it is about this live performance thing we like, we agree with, and what we disagree with. It is intellectual rigour at its best. I’ve heard so much about this cabaret. Yury was quite exciting to watch in the studio. I can only imagine what it’s like to see him under the lights and in the costumes.  So, without further ado, I present dossier #26:

Who are we talking to? I am a circus monkey. An actor, clown, performer, dancer, director, producer… it’s a lot really, but I love doing it all. Going from one extreme to another, whether with jobs or roles or lovers. Its great to play a mafia tough killer guy or Puck from Mid Summer Night’s Dream during a day and then run to the show to be Liza and Tina for the night. Trained theatre actor, with MBA in marketing. I lived in Bulgaria, Russia, and New York and worked all kinds of jobs from a Go-go dancer and McDonalds team leader to an Executive Director of international travel company… …oh, you mean? I am Yury Ruzhyev.

What gets you going in the morning? The fact that I don’t need to do anything, or to be anything till 4 p.m. as I can’t function in the mornings well. On the other hand, a 5 a.m. wake up call and the whole day of filming in front of me will get me going like crazy… but it’s coffee really.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life? When a was a kid I often played theatre, had curtains up on ropes across the room, changing area, and tons of different changes of clothes, I would have to put on, perform something and run off to change into something new… Look at me now, my show is a lot about quick costume changes, and performing. Weird. I never liked to perform for anyone when I was a child, I was always by my own. But now I can’t live without the live audience. Filming pictures and tv shows excite me a lot, but still not as greatly as the live performance. But I never wanted to be an actor. Freight train driver was my first and longest dream job as a kid. I still dream to get a train car, turn it in to a traveling home and go all around Canada.

What draws you to live performance? What is attractive about it to you? The fright, the thrills, the moment of happening and other silly things like dressing room lights, stage wings, curtains. It’s the need to be loved right then and there and the risk that it might not happen.

Basically, I’m asking why you do what you do? Why not another art form? There are other art forms? Theatre is my next favorite one (although, much of it is dated, dull, and boring, but I take it as a challenge), movies are fun especially if the direction and art is at place. But talking to people from stage is above all, for me, anyway.

Why VIVA CABARET? The name you mean? Or the genre? The name is the third option and it’s been a road of suffering, for I am horrible with names (my theatre company is called Hooligan Productions, for example). It was Cabaret Show at first, then Yury’s Cabaret and after my trip to Las Vegas, where I got inspired and named it Viva Cabaret, like a tribute to the genre. As for the genre – it’s live theatre, performance, dance, and comedy show. I pay tribute to old time divas, their hits, their lives… and I think it’s important once in a while to get away from your computer or a phone and get into a bar, have a drink, watch a show – face the real life. As in that song (which inspired me a lot): “What good is sitting alone in your room? / Come hear the music play. / Life is a Cabaret, old chum, / Come to the Cabaret.”

Aside from the 35 Divas you’ll be portraying onstage (!), I’ve heard you’ve got quite a following. Any leads as to who will be in the audience? It’s amazing how these talented and well known people are so supportive of me. I am very honored and extremely happy they want to come to see me perform. But I don’t want to name anyone, as they are my audience and friends, and they are coming to have fun and be gay /as in happy/. Come to the show and find out.

Do you have a favorite memory from a past, or present, VIVA CABARET? There are so many, I even wanted to have a show where I would talk about things that happened in the fun, the ugly and the magical. I’d say it’s the difficulties and the impossibles that makes this Cabaret journey unforgettable.

Describe VIVA CABARET in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound. It’s anything you want it to be for it’s Cabaret and everything is possible. The sound of mother’s steps coming home, the smell from your childhood that brings the warmth all over you… anything that makes you happy or silly. It’s the place and time when you can fall in love, get inspired, have fun, drink till you are on a pirate’s ship on a sailor’s arms who stole you and broke your heart… come to the Cabaret and live your dream.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes? I wanted to mention that next year my theatre company Hooligan Productions presents KOMUNKA the play. 12 hours in a kitchen of a communal apartment in Moscow, during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, 2014 with four families, six tenants living in four rooms, and something in a box. Collective work based on the idea, characters, conflicts and dialogs outlines created by Yury Ruzhyev, directed by Sky Gilbert, devised and written together with actors. The final version of the play will be produced during Summer, 2014 and workshop is scheduled for February 23, 2014 during and with live broadcast of Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

 

VIVA CABARET recreates classic divas

Drew Rowsome. November. 2013.

Viva Cabaret is on Sun, Dec 15 at The Rivoli, 334 Queen St W. rushow.ru

Yury Ruzhyev is an old-school all-round entertainer with the additional talent of being an excellent drag artist. He left Russia for Canada and with the controversies over the Sochi Olympics and draconic anti-gay laws, he finds himself compelled to speak out and politicize his work – to an extent. Ruzhyev is a fascinating bundle of tensions that are cultural, sexual, artistic and political. This strong, proud and talented gay man, who impersonates stars to entertain, is finding his inner voice and it is an intriguing one. Ruzhyev may be Russian by birth, but he is now figuring out whether Vegas or activism is his spiritual home. On the eve of an updated version of his signature spectacular Viva Cabaret, he answers a few questions and is “Feeling Good.”

Viva Cabaret is a showcase of the drag element of your talents – do you feel it is more female impersonation or more satire? 

Yury Ruzhyev: Viva Cabaret is a tribute to the greatest divas in the genre of impersonations. I am not a look-a-like, neither drag, nor impressionist, but simply an actor, playing a character, a satirical parody. Or at least I think I am. What I am really demonstrating is an ability to portray, as accurately as I can, a well known persona through the look, moves, attitude and facial expressions. And at the same time take some elements of it to the grotesque. It’s a parody. Oh my, that came out so serious and deeply technical. I wanted to start with a joke.

Who is your favourite diva to portray? 

This is the most frequent question I get but I still don’t have an answer. There are 65 characters in my show, divas from the past, like Ella, Marlene and Elvis; modern day divas like Britney, Gaga and Bjork; all time divas like Tina, Liza and Michael. This year I am introducing a circus element with Clown Ring Master, a half man/half lady act, belly dancing and a giant diva doll. They are all fun, but the new ones are always my favorites. Right now I am in love with my clown character and Bjork. 

Who is the most difficult diva to portray? 

There are two divas that I have been trying to do for years and am still struggling with: Barbra and Celine. I even flew to Brooklyn to see Barbra live and I still can’t quite capture her. She is just so huge in movies and is still doing live shows. I am thinking of doing a Hello Dolly act, but we will see. Celine bores me to death. 

Who is the next diva you plan to add to Viva Cabaret? 

I have already added Bjork, the Cirque Clown, a Russian Swan, belly dance and Michael Jackson. Annie Lennox, Pink, and Grace Jones are the next ones.

What does a female star have to do, or become, in order to be included inViva Cabaret? 

She has to be magical and inspiring with a great blood-pumping song that I can dance to. Some performers, when they sing or dance, they awake the magic fumes in you, you are intoxicated, you are in love with them and the act. Some of  the rest are just technical. This is also the reason I can’t find any love to portray all these young girls. No magic happens with their performances, sorry. And yes, I am hard to please.

It’s important to note that you also impersonate many male stars – Charlie Chaplin, Freddy Mercury, James Brown, etc. How do you choose which males to include? It is it a different process to find their essence and project it? 

Those guys were divas all right. It’s easy to impersonate performers who are larger then life. Elvis was easy, you just stand there and look cool and wanted. With Michael Jackson, it took several years to build the confidence to impersonate him and I still have so much to work to do on his character. The recipe is the same: engaging charisma, sparkly costume, loud song, and a shot of vodka. Two shots, if it’s Celine.

You did a very powerful piece at The Penis Project at Buddies. Will Viva Cabaret contain any political/dramatic material like that? 

Recently, not as a part of Viva Cabaret, but as an artist, I did a piece – I read my poems about murders and the repression of gays in Russia - at the Wrecking Ball at Buddies. It’s a new thing for me to be political and have an urge to say something. An artistic fight if you wish. I only did it because I couldn’t not do it. It was so painful and horrid and I am going to do more, but not in Viva Cabaret. Viva Cabaret is all about rainbows and unicorns with mild satire and kind humour. I want my audience to live the dream, have fun and feel the magic. 

You are doing a theatrical piece, Komunka, you created to be directed by Sky Gilbert in February. Komunka is inspired by the Sochi Olympics and Russia’s gay policies. How do you feel about what is happening inRussia? Would you be able to perform Viva Cabaret inRussia or for the Olympics?

Russia is a very, very double-sided medal kind of country. Highly hypocritical. The same people who impose inhuman laws against gay people, have no troubles booking drag shows for their special events as well as doing other all sorts of “ungodly” things. My show and my friends’ shows - we still keep in touch - do well and dance our heels off for politicians and lawmakers. What the politicians shout out to be noticed and what is happening in real life are two different things. It’s not as scary as it seems from here, but very scary on a whole different level. Komunkais going to address gay rights issues, immigration and the 51 billion dollars they spent on Olympics. The six apartment tenants in the play, who represent six different social circles in Russia, have a lot to say about it all.

Assuming that Komunka will be explicitly political, what would you like audiences to get out of Viva Cabaret? 

Viva Cabaret is all fun: good music with a touch of nostalgia, and fabulous costumes. It’s just good entertainment. Komunka is a theatre piece, introducing Russians, their lives and culture to a Canadian audience. The play is trying to explain why Russians are so fucked up. It’s a rhetorical question - the classics have been asking it for ages - whose fault is it and what to do? Come and see what those six tenants got to say about it.

As a triple-threat: what is your greatest strength? 

Do you mean that in my one-man cirques, I get to be a clown, a monkey and a striped tent? (laughs) It gives me great love, I am thrilled and high when I get to perform and the audience feels it, shares and enjoys it with me.

Is there a difference between how a gay audience and a straight audience reacts to Viva Cabaret? Do you tailor it to the demographic? 

Straights are way more interesting and a better audience to perform for. Most of my shows are for straights. Firstly, they pay better, and secondly they are amazed with everything I do on stage, from dancing in 10-inch heels to the part where the guys bet that I am a girl. I create the illusion and they believe in it - we all have fun. Gay audiences watching my show are like those TV show judges, so it’s harder. But at least we speak the same language and I can sing the Diana Ross line, “This is dedicated to my girls,” and only gays know how much it means to me and to them and to every girl out there.

You inhabit many divas but what song would you perform as Yury? 

The first song that comes to mind, and it seems that it’s here to stay, is “I am what I am, I am my own special creation!” And the other song for when I am alone at home: Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.”

 

THEATRE / Yury takes drag to the next level

Rob Salerno / Toronto / Thursday, June 30, 2011

                  Yury’s Viva Cabaret dazzled a standing-room-only crowd at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre June 29, with Yury Ruzhyev’s spectacular drag performances celebrating a dozen classic divas past and present, both female and male.
                  Ruzhyev has been slowly making a name for himself and his drag alter ego, Yury, with his unique cabaret performances at parties around Toronto for the last two years. This was the most elaborate show he’s staged in Toronto, aided by a live pianist and a pair of sexy backup dancers.
                  The early part of the evening saw Yury perform as screen and stage legends, including Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis and James Brown. In the back half of the show, Yury pumped up the energy with contemporary dance-club divas like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Britney Spears, Freddie Mercury, Tina Turner and Cher
                  His lightning-fast costume changes, spot-on caricatures, confetti bombs and high-energy dance routines kept the audience cheering for more and laughing along at the well-timed bits of comedy throughout.
                  Taking his final bow after the nearly two-hour show, Ruzhyev has a message for the audience: “Find a lover. I've found mine: the whole theatre community here at Buddies."

 

Yury Ruzhyev's female impersonation show lands at the Gladstone

FEATHERS / 'I would impersonate Margaret Thatcher if she sang'

Chris Dupuis / Toronto / Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yury Ruzhyev is not a drag queen. 

While the Toronto-based Russian ex-pat performs primarily in dresses and heels, he’s always considered himself to be just another actor.

“A drag queen is a character with a name and a personality,” he says over rye and ginger at a Queen West bar. “It’s a persona the performer creates that has never existed before. I don’t see myself as a drag queen because I just impersonate people who already exist.”

Since landing in Toronto two and a half years ago, the Moscow native has appeared at Gowntown and The Keith Cole Experience and done gigs in New York, Vancouver, Las Vegas and Bermuda. His new one-man impersonation extravaganza, Viva Cabaret, begins a month-long engagement at the Gladstone Hotel’s Melody Bar this April. Audiences can expect old-school divas such as Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland and Edith Piaf, and contemporary stars like Liza Minnelli, Madonna and Tina Turner.

“All the characters I perform inspire me because there’s something unique about them no one else has,” he says. “I don’t do Jennifer Lopez or Beyonc? because there’s nothing about them that stands out. I can’t even tell them apart. But there will only ever be one Barbra and one Cher.”

“I’m really attracted to strong women,” he adds. “I would impersonate Margaret Thatcher if she sang.”

Yury Ruzhyev's female impersonation show lands at the Gladstone.

Ruzhyev came to the stage in a roundabout way. Though he completed an MBA in 2001, he quickly decided it wasn’t right for him. Unsure of what he wanted to do but wanting to live and work abroad, he began researching other options. In a typically homo twist of fate, the answer came one night when he stumbled on a battered copy of Bob Fosse’s Cabaret on VHS.

“That movie came at the perfect time in my life,” he says. “The decadence of the era, the dream of Sally Bowles, the smell and the lights of the theatre — it was all so inspiring for me. I knew immediately I wanted to become a performer.”

He enrolled at Moscow’s Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute and went on to do some conventional acting for film and stage. But it was in the field of impersonation that he really hit his stride. He quickly connected with the drag community of Moscow and within a short time was a regular performer on stages around the city. 

“I never thought of the performances as something to do with sexuality or gender,” he says. “I just thought of it as acting, like playing any other part.”

Many Westerners may be surprised to learn that Moscow, not typically thought to be a gay-friendly city, has a flourishing drag scene.

“Most of the shows there are for straight audiences,” he says. “They aren’t looking for drag queens specifically. The fact that we might be gay doesn’t enter into it. They just want to be entertained.”

Though things have improved considerably in recent years, gay liberation still has a long way to go in Russia.

“The imprisonment of gay people stopped in the mid-’90s, but we still can’t have Pride without everyone getting arrested,” he says. “We have a gay scene with bars and saunas and two magazines. You can go to clubs and fuck whoever you want. As long as you don’t wave it in people’s faces they leave you alone.”

“If anything, I had the most problems from my mom when I came out,” he adds. “She was very upset at the beginning, and we didn’t talk for almost two years. But she’s happy that I’m here in Canada now and I’m safe.”

Catch Yury Ruzhyev at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St W) on the first Wednesday of the month, starting April 6.

 

 

APR 22, 2011

Viva Yury Ruzhyev!

by Kristine Maitland

Going to NDP candidate Michael Erickson's campaign fundraiser proved to be a value added occasion - I had the delight of experiencing the talent of performer Yury Ruzhyev. You can read about his background  in Xtra (dude has an MBA for pete's sake).

Energy - where does he get that energy? Perhaps I do not want to know. But beyond that what struck me  about his act was his knowledge of scale - he seems to know how to exaggerate his impersonations in keeping with the size of the room.  I could have stood at the back and still been able to truly enjoy the performance. And I have never see costume changes like that in my life.

If I have a criticism - and I only have one - it's that he is talented enough for a costume upgrade.  What he has is good for now but I think that his show merits other costuming pros (I can think one one off the top of my head) to bring him up to the next level of gigs. 

And trust me, Yura/y will be at the next level quickly enough.

Boys will be girls

FAB magazine. April 04.2011 by Michael Lyons

Yury turns hump day into Viva Cabaret

“I once danced a show in the street with a car’s headlights for lighting,” says Yury Ruzhyev, who performs under the name Yury . “The woman who hired me sat in the car while my audience, the man who was her lover and his wife, watched from a balcony. It was foggy and probably one of the most awkward and memorable acts ever.” Yury’s Viva Cabaret features parodies, live singing, clowning, dancing, magic and ballet.

“Drag personas are created by their owners and have characters, names, attitudes and looks. That’s an amazing art form, but that’s not me. I am a trained theatre and film actor and work in a different genre. I do impersonations.” Ruzhyev’s one-man theatrical performance is a tribute to the great divas, past and present, including Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, ABBA, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Elvis Presley, James Brown and Britney Spears. “This month I am premiering Bette Midler and Whitney Houston. And this summer, Lady Gaga.”

Viva Cabaret begins Wed, April 6 at 8pm and runs the first Wednesday of every month at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W. rushow.ru

 

Yury can rock!

FAB magazine. April 27, 2011 by Paul Bellini

I went to a press preview of Yury's classy show held at the Gladstone Hotel a few weeks back. He transforms from Ella Fitzgerald to Marlene Dietrich to Liza to Cher all in the blink of an eye, his quick costume changes and choreography causing him to work up quite a glow. I saw Yury perform at Grapefruit at fly recently, a fun evening despite the presence of more security than at an airport during a terrorist alert. The crowed adored Yury's Madonna impersonation, as I did. Yet Yury does not consider himself a drag queen, since he does Elvis Presley, Charlie Chaplin and James Brown impersonations as well. The Viva Cabaret show is reminiscent of the movie Cabaret, which is no coincidence. "Liza is my favorite", Yury says. darling, Liza is everyone's favorite. But I enjoy the fact that he dares to do Edith Piaf and Shirley Bassey as well Yury is presenting his full two-hour show at the Gladstone on first Wednesday in May and June and is doing a Pride show at Buddies on Wednesday, June 29th. So If I learned anything, it's Yury can rock. 

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