DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s part fashion show, part concert, part celebration.
Revolution: Vive la Fashion Rock invades the Stoner Theater on Friday. For the event’s headliner, it’s a project years in the making, and Madison Ray is ready to make a big splash.
“All of the dedication, all of the practice, all of the rehearsal, just for a moment. This feels kind of like that,” says Ray while looking around the empty theater days before the show. Come showtime, it’s his job to make sure each one of the 200 seats is accounted for.
“If people come and join us and fill the room and want to sing and dance and clap their hands and have some fun, that’s that much better.”
For some, it’s just a way to spend a few hours on a Friday night. But for Ray it’s much bigger.
“Honestly, it’s years of work. The notion of working on a project for five years sounds kind of insane.”
But just getting this far is something to be proud of.
“If I’m being completely honest, I think it’s already a success. The fact that it exists, that’s a win, that’s a victory. The fact that something didn’t exist a month ago exists now, that’s it! We’ve done it,” exclaims Ray.
And sometimes the journey is the most important part.
“You can get so tied up in the perception that you lose sight of the beauty of what it is to create something. So that being said, I feel like I’ve already won.”
The show is called Revolution, which is a daunting word, but Ray says that’s on purpose.
“A revolution is not a thing to be taken lightly, speaking socially or personally. The notion of change, and ideally change for the better, is a constant daily task.”
It’s a collaborative effort that helps tell Ray’s story as an artist.
“Working with musicians or with burlesque dancers, drag queens, working in fashion, working in the theater, working in all these different spaces to understand where all of these threads really start to tie it all together. It really crystalized into one show because it’s like all of the different tributaries kind of lead to this one body of water.”
Because to him, it’s important to be part of something bigger than himself.
“Working with another often lends perspective that you may not have had singularly.”
While this is the first, and only, time the event will be seen, it’s not Ray’s first performance. He has done shows across the country and the world, but Des Moines will always be home.
“Des Moines is starting to matter in a way that it hasn’t before, in the bigger sense. I’ve always felt that there’s so much potential here, there’s so much going on, and those that miss it just weren’t looking for it.”
And he promises Friday’s show will be unlike any other.
“I can promise there’s going to be beautiful clothes, wonderful people, amazing colors and lights and music, but how’s that going to feel? What’s that going to turn into when the electricity is in the room? I have no idea, and that’s why I’m so excited about it. It’s such an interesting opportunity to see a show like this on such a personal level that, like, you need to be here to experience it.”
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Stoner Theater. Tickets are $26.50 and available at the Civic Center ticket office or online at dmpa.org.