Central Florida entertainment is so much more than just the mouse. This diverse I-4 corridor is home to a multicultural rainbow of beauty. There are genres and tastes for everyone, from Latin jives to little soulful hives. Greater Orlando has theater, salsa, rock, alternative and so much more.
The Orlando Gay Chorus, yes inclusive of all, is a choir holding concerts citywide at numerous vigils and venues. Their blend is a beautiful four part harmony of diversity. Their style ranges from classic ballads to fun Broadway numbers and beyond. Catch one of their concerts at the Densch Performing Arts Center or one of the many other partnering venues.
For a more diva and Latin American feel, Company B Music is a trio of ladies who headline the stage at Parliament House. They enjoy performing all kinds of pop music as well but their forte is tunes from the 80s. They encourage sing-alongs and audience participation.
American Idol performer and Orlando artist Brandon Parsons is a regular throughout the downtown area at places like the Abbey and in Lake Buena Vista at the Boathouse. He performs both moving ballads and rock classics. His song “Orlando Strong” was utilized as one of the official tribute songs during the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.
On the first Friday monthly, the music of KULTure Shock at Bombshells Tavern will pump the blood and bring you right into the EBM—Industrial—80’s—Goth world. This scene is especially great for all things pansexual and nongender conforming. The alternative scene of leather and bondage will drive the senses wild. You never know how the night will end here, but you do know it will be a blast.
Bands like ATB and Ruby Rose perform live as regulars at the Tier Night Club on Central Boulevard. Rap blends with hip hop and party house for a stepped up experience like no other. These bands love to elevate the nightlife experience in the Orlando area and no experience is more eclectic in variety. Green Velvet Warehouse also provides some of the best EDC sounds in Orlando. This is a staple of Tier Night Club as well.
Orlando is one of the most dragtacular places in the entire U.S. east coast. This scene is resilient and filled with diverse performers ranging from classic divas to Latina queens. As their recent trending motto resounds, so does the drag scene—“Orlando Strong.” These performers unite behind each other and truly form a tapestry like no other.
Big hair and big lights are no exception for Lacie Browning. Catch this beautiful queen lusciously hosting the parties at Stonewall Bar and performing her classics. She also spills the tea on the latest Drag Race news. Allison Taylor is a regular performer at Parliament House and will be hosting the upcoming “Dirty @$$” Bingo. Her sassy drag will leave you breathless and thirsty for more.
In memory of the former television personality “Maude”, Divine Grace plays Maude Redux in her show featuring Doug Ba’aser, Tommy Wooten, and Joshua Sinalsco. Her lavish outifits of color and variety of throwback tunes will have you singing and dancing the night away. The Minx and Nicki Monet currently host a Broadway Drag Cabaret based in downtown Orlando. This lively show at Hamburger Mary’s Church Street Station is reminiscent Judy Garland’s hour on the trolley in St. Louis. There are so many Cabaret and Broadway numbers, your vocal cords could be raspy from so much singing. Don’t miss this show.
Orlando disc jockeys smile their way into your hearts but they will pump your blood to keep it there with their beats. Keep in mind—Orlando is a spread out region and there is much ground to cover in the DJ scene. These next few DJ’s are by no means the complete picture, but they are an excellent snapshot of what Orlando has to offer.
DJ Nigel and DJ BMF are staples at the Hammered Lamb. Nigel is one of the most collaborative jockeys in the entire area. BMF brings the funky turntable to life. Specializing in “phat-n-jazzy”, the mix sets of BMF will leave you get funky all night long. DJ Edil Hernandez lifts the audience higher to a house plane blending past and present hits with Latin vibes and urban dance. He specializes in vocal house and can be seen during One Magical Weekend and at Southern Nights Orlando.
DJ’s Gryo and Maddie Ice light up the stage weekly at Tier. Gryo will melt you to the floor with his rap and hip hop style. The summer parties he highlights are second to none. Collaborating with Gryo is Maddie Ice. “You Know the Vibes” brings the boom to downtown.
DJ Brianna brings throwback forward to now with a fabulous Wednesday 80s night at Parliament House. Brianna knows how to make the perfect transitions, pauses, repeats and more spin your way. The beat stays fresh and heavy as April Fresh sashays across the dance floor. DJ Dido spins for Latin Night Thursday. Dido turns up the salsa heat and makes the rhythm flow. As one guest on Dido’s page commented, “Oye que rico!”, he plays delicious tunes.
LGBTQ+ comedy in the region thrives from Disney to Debary. You will find both large venues around downtown Orlando and Disney as well as smaller venues scattered about the region. Be sure to check each comedian’s website and follow them for the latest on where they are doing their latest show. You may find International Drive or downtown fit your needs or smaller places. However, it is the comedians which make the magic happen.
Lynn Yafchak and Melissa Douty are both regulars at Bonkerz Comedy Productions in both Orlando and South Orlando. These hilarious ladies fill up the room with pizzazz at both the Boardwalk Entertainment Center and Margaritaville Resort. You won’t forget Lynn’s hair or Melissa’s witty impressions. Chris Dinger, Ali Flores, Chelsea Hilend, Adam Scharf, and Ana Eligio are all instructors and cast members at Sak Comedy Club. This school for comedians is stacked with Orange County’s best comedians. Their Gorilla Theater productions will leave you bellowing with laughter. Orlando native Wayne Brady gained local and national fame at this club. He often returns to his home base to take the stage.
Cabaret and Burlesque are alive and well in Central Florida. The creativity doesn’t go commercial—it goes sweet with motifs of sass and class. From Skill Focus Burlesque nerding out to the queens at Parliament House, there are numerous options to fuel the nightery fires. Put on your stilettos and corsets as we highlight the best in the area.
Skill Focus Burlesque is by far the most creative and unique Burlesque troupe in the Orlando area. Rosita Sparkles, Fifi Latio, Boom Boom Noire and others headline their regular shows. You will see them at events like the Orlando Fringe Festival and clubs like the Venue Orlando. Baby Blue is a “peek-a-boo” style Burlesque artist with smooth velvet finishes and chains to rock your world. She can be found at the Stardust Lounge in downtown Orlando. Her show is the longest running burlesque show in the city’s history.
Cult Status Burlesque also does regular shows at Venue Orlando. Della-Kate Flower, Pistol Mercy, and Edith Meowt offer the audience a blend of the roaring early decades of the twentieth century with fierce outfits and dance to provocate your petulant perversions! Clutch your pearls tightly and let the hose befallen to the floor. Raunch and sizzle all the way home after these shows, because you will need a cool drink of water afterwards.
Orlando has remained strong. The hashtag is more than just a reminiscence of a tragedy. It is the catalyst that binds this area together to be creative and keep on dancing. Disc jockeys will continue to delight and spin. Burlesque will always be fierce and Drag Broadway tunes will fill Church Street station. Orlando has everything in droves, both great and small-scale entertainment. By visiting, you can take in whatever your heart desires and return to this area for a lifetime.
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Written by Johnathan Soots
Hailing from North Carolina, Jonathan Soots relocated to Orlando in 2001. He began a seven year career with Universal Orlando. After completing high school, he attended college in Tennessee. He worked in the church world and then came out in 2010. Around this time, he completed a Masters in Teaching. Jonathan presently teaches for Tutor Doctor, Challenge Island and Qkids English Learning. Travel is his favorite activity, and he has worked briefly for an LGBT travel company. In addition to enjoying Atlantis gay cruises, he and his husband Stephen enjoy spending time with their silky terrier Dusty. They live in the South Pasadena area of St. Petersburg.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.