100 Women We Love: Class of 2011

June 17, 2011

by Editor: Kat Long; Sharyn Jackson, Corina Maritescu, Shannon Leigh O’Neil and Dulci Pitagora
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photo by Joshi Radin
ALL THE KINGS MENPerforming to standing ovations from L.A. to London, and starring in the acclaimed documentary Play In The Gray, Boston-based performance troupe All The Kings Men (ATKM) use pop-cultural satire, burlesque, comedy, dance and a host of alter egos to address and upend gender issues. Audiences comprised of radical young queers, straight moms, dads and fill-in-the-blanks leave shows stirred by the out-and-proud, unapologetic messages.

The six members each bring years of performance experience to their (fe)male roles. Maine native Katie Allen has a strong background in music and theater; Julee Antonellis, once a dance instructor and Pro-Am competitor with the Arthur Murray Dance Company, can bust a move in hip-hop, modern dance or ballroom. ATKM co-founder Leighsa Burgin is formally trained in both performing and fine arts, while Jill Gibson makes up one half of the duo Axe to Ice Productions with ATKM member/puppeteer Karin Webb (they produce a monthly vaudeville show in the Boston area). ATKM co-founder Maria Kogan got her start in theater 30 years ago in her parents’ living room and also works as a graphic designer.

The sum of their combined training produces comic skits that routinely dazzle audiences. “If grannies, mustachioed weirdos and other outrageous characters can be hot alongside our boy band heartthrobs, then count us in!” they say of their on-stage personae. “We want to change not only the face of what queer performance means to the mainstream, but be an inspiration to the queer community itself to go out and create dynamic, sexy, professional and quality art—art that can break down the walls that divide mainstream works from smaller and often less-patronized, funded and visible artists. We believe in being an inspiration and a support to the younger generations who view our work,” the group says.

To that end, All The Kings Men teach eye-opening workshops to instruct pupils in the art of drag and how to “strut for success.” Their class “Gender Lines: Definition Versus Reality” not only explains the nuances of drag and multiple reasons people cross-dress, but also offers an interactive talkback session with the artists themselves. But most of all, the talented sextet “believe[s] in laughter, great art, constant evolution and using our voices to say exactly what’s on our minds.” –KL

go winners


“The troupe boasts some serious talent that is deftly adapted to several different styles of performance…from the disturbingly effective…to fantastic comic effect.  All are gifted entertainers that prove the entire troupe to be one of the city’s most entertaining acts.”

Ryan Lindsey, ‘Bay Windows’

Boston Pride Wrapup :: We all had a ball at Boston City Hall

“Without question All the King’s Men (ATKM), New England’s own drag king troupe, stole the show. Though the crowd had thinned prior to their performance, when the emcees introduced the group, people poured in from festival booths to the stage, and ATKM performed before a cheering throng.”

-Laura Kiritsy, Bay Windows’ 

“Their sketches range from comedy, to drama, to just plain amazing.  They explore sexual attraction, gender identity, and the nature of drag itself. And they are, above all, entertaining and talented performers who create a show that is a melange of drag, theatre, dance, and performance art. If you like clever sketch comedy, music, dance, and an incredibly talented group of actors, you shouldn’t miss their shows. ”

Byrne Harrison, ‘Stage Buzz.com’

See full article here; http://www.stagebuzz.com/2009/08/review-all-kings-men.html

“…“Thriller,” performed by All The King’s Men, received a standing ovation and was designated Margaret Cho’s personal favorite.”

Tina Roy, The Tech at MIT http://tech.mit.edu/V126/N51/51Fierce.html

“Each of the Men has regular characters in her repertoire but onstage they are chameleonic raconteurs, performing precisely rehearsed lip-synched skits and donning up to 10 different costumes apiece.  It’s performance art united by its unique statement about gender.”

Caitlin Curran, ‘Boston Phoenix’

See full article here; http://thephoenix.com/boston/life/64633-socks-appeal/?page=4#TOPCONTENT

“All the Kings Men Performance Troupe is the secret that must consider itself out of the bag…performing variety show style evenings of song, dance and comedy,  think of it as a contemporary sequel to the cross-dressing of Shakespeare’s time.”

The Boston Phoenix

“All The Kings Men have a broad appeal that goes far beyond the concept of women dressing as men.”

–The Weekly Dig

“Among the acts performing on the Common were hometown heroes All The King’s Men, who whipped up the crowd with several of their hits.”

-Ethan Jacobs, ‘Bay Windows’ , On Boston Youth Pride

See full article here; http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc3=&id=74518

“…seriously kick-ass reenactment of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, complete with zombie movie as backdrop, performed by Boston’s premier drag king troupe All the Kings Men.” All the Kings Men: Treat Yourself to a Genderbend

Evie Southwick, The Weekly Dig,



“ATKM is the best show I’ve ever seen!

I love the new yoga sketch! My entire table, including myself, laughed so hard we had tears rolling down our cheeks! I love all the dance sequences, the two princes, and, well… All of it! The whole show gives me and my friends a happy high that lasts for days! We can’t wait to go to December’s show! I’m constantly spreading the word! EVERY show should be sold out!!!” –Jen Diotte Pitrowski

“Spectacular show, we loved every minute, old and new!”

–Peggy Troy

“Brilliant and funny only begins to describe them. Dangerous and important is more of the story. Pushing the edge of gender dynamics and stereotypes,

Kings Men deliver in a way that will make the patriarchy stand up and notice. And then duck.”

–Paxus Calta

“The show was amazing, I have been following you guys since the early 2000s when I moved to Boston. I have made every attempt to see the show btwn Boston and Ptown. Great mix of old numbers and awesome new pieces. Don’t wait so long before another Boston show please. I brought along a friend who had never been to a drag king show before and we she absolutely love it. Thank you for an amazing show and a great night!”–Melanie K-mart

“Fabulous show last night!!! Great mix of new and old stuff. You guys kick ass!” –Dean James

The show was hilariously funny, and you had so many different skits. I’m always amazed at your talent at making people laugh, dance, and play so many different roles. Please keep it up and come back again soon.” –Charlo Maurer

“As ever, (after a show) I LOVE what I call the “ATKM Effect”.

It’s a 3-day good-vibe feeling interspersed with random fits of giggles just driving in the car, in the market. Wish society could see the skits playing in my head so I wouldn’t look so daft but oh well..the memories are great & absolutely worth looking like a lunatic for. GREAT show, as ever! (Seriously I can’t get over the yoga skit, still!)” –Nina Smith Lindqvist


“Thank you for your wild and poignant show in York this past Saturday!!!!!  I am sure I’ll be pondering and laughing for months to come.  Naturally we are talking about you to all our friends, far and wide.  Not only am I impressed with your skills in dancing and physical comedy but also very moved by how articulate and compassionate you were during the talkback.  I feel that while challenging us with your outrageous and humorous actions you are inviting us in a loving way to be more flexible.  I am so looking forward to enjoying you again and my partner and I will bring all our friends along this time.  Rock on, Sisters!!” –Sally Meiser

“Greatest show ever, what a class act! Can’t wait for the next one.”

–Veronica Burgin (Leighsa’s Mom)

“ATKM is not only an amazing gender-bending performance troupe, but together are keenly perceptive to what entertains their audience the most. Separately, the troupes players are very skilled. Draw them together onto one stage, and you have one hell of a show! I was impressed the first day I saw them. ” –Justin Saine

“I have never seen a more imaginative and dynamic show. The fact that they are all female is merely a sidenote…these women rock the house each and every time!” –Anonymous

THEN: “They reinterpret songs in completely new ways, and are a combination versatile, thought-provoking, sexy, and hilarious.”

NOW: “That was one of your best shows to date! Great to see so much new stuff, including new takes on classics. Keep it up!”

–Kevin Block-Schwenk

“Their characters run the gamut of our humaness, showing us who we are and then pushing past our self-imposed limits to the deeper, bigger, unimaginable…spectacular!” –Dianne

“Unforgettable. ATKM resonate long after you’ve seen them and each performer is saturated with talent. Absolutely deliciously entertaining on all levels including an often missing important ingredient among other groups: provocative risk-taking. ” –Deborah


“Since 1998, Dyke Night Productions has been producing award winning events in Boston.  With over 300 events in our history, and countless performers we have worked with–one group, All The Kings Men (ATKM), stands out.  From their professionalism, to the theatrical quality in each show-their provacative perfomance art is always a crowd pleaser.”
Kristen Porter, ‘Founder and owner of multi-award winning Dyke Night™ Productions’

“All The Kings Men are not only doing something in the performance world no one else is doing, they are all spectacularly wonderful people.  It’s not only a pleasure to watch them, it’s a delight to work with them and know them.”                                                                                                                                               Lynette Molnar, ‘Producer, Girl Power Events’



“All The Kings Men beautifully blur those gender lines with cracker jack comedy.”

Poppy Champlin, ‘Fastest witted female comedienne on either coast’


“Unique, creative, fun, always entertaining, fresh, sexy, …they always bring it.  I love them.  Way to go dudes!”
Sandra Valls, ‘SHOWTIME, Latin Divas of Comedy, Writer, Producer and Hilarious Comic’


“ATKM is like a f*%king clown car!”
Lea DeLaria, ‘Star of Orange is the New Black, Musician, Stand-Up Comic and all around Broadway Diva’


“Thanks to All The Kings Men I became adDICted to dude drag.  I call what I do, dude drag because they are truly kings.  Love!”
Mimi Gonzalez, ‘Comic’


“I took a front row seat for these girls in Ptown because I have my own, personal favorite ATKM selections – Keep them on your radar!”
Lori Michaels, ‘THE Dyke Diva’


“I have had the honor and privilege to work with All The Kings Men.  They are some of the most talented, professional, and amazing women in the entertainment industry today.  In fact, ATKM bring a new meaning to the word “entertainment.”  …not to mention they aren’t too bad to look at either….”
Jamisin Lee, ‘Dancer, Lori Michaels and the Girls’


“All the Kings Men are so hot and funny, they make my husband nervous that I’ll defect to the other side”

Niki Luparelli, ‘One half of The Steamy Bohemians’

Want to be heard from too?  Let us know at info@atkm.com or

on our FB page https://www.facebook.com/allthekingsmen!