Drag diva Courtney Act’s latest show, Maybe She’s Born With It, comes to Sydney for Mardi Gras having been road — and boat — tested around the world.

Act has just returned from an international tour, including a string of dates across the US and a stint on the famed Atlantis gay cruise.

“It’s had an opportunity to be refined, and it was a real test, performing to overseas audiences who aren’t that familiar with Courtney. I’m excited to bring it home,” Act told the Star Observer.

She described her time entertaining gay holidaymakers aboard the Atlantis as like “gay utopia”.

“I was performing in an auditorium for 2000 people each night, with a full live band, and they had a lift under the stage so I’d rise out of the orchestra pit at the start of my show like some grand diva. There were many childhood dreams fulfilled there!

“I know some people have a vision that a gay cruise might be vile and debaucherous — while it is all those things, it’s also wonderfully fun.”

Now back on home turf, Act is ready to treat local audiences to her lovingly-crafted one-hour show. Backed by a live band, she’ll race through a selection of hits by the likes of Robyn, Madonna, Kylie, Cyndi Lauper, the Jackson 5 and AC/DC, interspersed with “stories about boys, bars and booze”.

All songs are performed relatively faithfully, except for Madge’s ’80s pop classic Dress You Up.

“I’ve changed it around so it’s a story about me chatting up a boy, thinking it’s all going really well, trying to take it to the next level — and then he asks if I can dress him up in drag,” she laughed.

Act will also pay tribute to Lady Gaga, one pop princess she managed to get up close and personal with during her last Australian tour.

“I went to the Monster Ball concert in drag wearing a version of her police tape outfit. Her dresser showed her a photo of me, and she loved it so much I ended up getting invited to her birthday to sing Sweet Transvestite and Happy Birthday to her.

“Being a part of her birthday celebration was definitely a highlight of my career.”

info: Maybe She’s Born With It plays for five shows only at Nevermind from February 24 – March 4. Visit www.courtneyact.com

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