By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
LAWRENCE - July marked three years that MsAmanda Love has been entertaining audiences weekly at the Jazzhaus in the center of downtown Lawrence.
Love, portrayed by Nathan Stitt, a cis male, first performed in drag more than eight years ago at a fundraiser in the dorm and loved it. “After that night I always had an itch to do it again as it fulfilled my creativity and love of performing for a crowd,” Stitt says. Throughout the past few years, Stitt says MsAmanda Love’s character development and looks have evolved and improved.
As Love, she tailors the dance to the song, whether it’s dancing fast and crazy, or dancing with tears streaming down. The main goal is to have fun. “My philosophy for performing is to do what I can to entertain while being unexpected,” Love says. Sometimes, that means singing parody songs, singing live, or belting out the latest Nicki Minaj or Demi Lovato song and even “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King.
Throughout the years, Love’s look has also evolved. From short cocktail dresses and short hair, to full-length gowns and large costume wigs and an abundance of jewelry (including several handmade pieces), MsAmanda Love has it all. “If it’s big, bright, and makes a statement, I own it and wear it,” she says.
Love recently celebrated three years of performing at the Jazzhaus. It started with one show on a Thursday in July 2014. Over time, the shows increased from every couple of months, to monthly, and since May of this year, weekly. Love credits the Jazzhaus and Tanya McNealy for giving her the opportunity.
Thirsty Thursday Bangerz Ball is the first Thursday of the month. The second Thursday is MsAmanda Presents: Thirsty Thursday Novacayn’s Panty Party (hosted by resident drag king Novacayne). The third Thursday of the month is MsAmanda’s Thirsty Thursday $#!+ Show. The final Thursday of the month is Thirsty Thursday Showcase Showdown, an open talent show.
To celebrate the three-year milestone, Love hosted an anniversary show, which included crowd favorites as well as performers from the very first show.
“Personally, three years was a huge milestone for me,” Love says. “I never imagined that we would be able to build such a strong following and loyal fan base that has not only allowed us to continue with one show but build to a show every week.”
Recalling the milestone, naturally, has Love reminiscing about the beginning: seeing her local gay bar, where she first started to perform, go out of business; and honing her performances at several other bars in Topeka and Junction City. Today, Love is performing weekly shows to crowds between 80 and 120 consistently. Each show brings new people, which she hopes to convert into regulars.
Love doesn’t plan on stopping the party anytime soon. Every Thursday night, the Jazzhaus is the place to be. She continues to strive for greatness with every performance. Her ambitions extend beyond the Jazzhaus. In addition to continuing to build her career as a performer and making it a full time career, Love’s goals include filming music videos for her parody songs and getting cast on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
MsAmanda Love shows typically start at 10:30pm every Thursday. Cost is $5 for 21+; $7 for ages 18-20. For information, or to inquire about booking a MsAmanda Love appearance, visit: Twitter: @MsAmandaLove; Facebook: Nathan MsAmanda Love Stitt; Instagram: MsAmandaLove. l