Dressing up and belting it out like only a princess could

Katie Stroh

The Alamo Drafthouse’s Downtown and Lake Creek locations will be putting on the Pop Princess Sing-Along event for its third and final show of the year tonight.

Audience members are invited to dress up as their favorite bubblegum princess and rock out to the tunes of nearly every guilty-pleasure pop diva of the past 30 years.

The Drafthouse has put on a Pop Princess Sing Along multiple times before, and in previous years, the sing-along show has focused on the classic female pop artists of the ’80s and ’90s: think Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, Cyndi Lauper, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. This year, the show has been updated to accommodate the many upcoming female pop artists that currently infiltrate the charts and implant their maddeningly catchy tunes in our brains for days at a time.

“I had the thought that Katy Perry is making a run to be cemented in the history books as the pop princess of our time,” said Greg MacLennan, director of interactive programming at the Alamo Drafthouse. “I wanted to add the stuff that’s going on now, like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, all those girls. So we’ll still keep in the ’80s stuff, but I also tried to include more contemporary stuff this time. It’s more fun that way.”

MacLennan said the Pop Princess Sing Along evolved out of past sing alongs hosted by the Drafthouse, including the Boy Band Sing Along and the Disney Musketeers Sing Along.

Although the show is designed to be an interactive experience for the audience, MacLennan said that the audience determines both the level of interactivity and the amount of fun they’ll have.

“We’ll have fun, kind of passive things for the audience, like when we pass out flashing rings during Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),’” MacLennan said.

“But it’s not aggressively interactive. I just say, ‘The only limits to the fun you’ll have tonight are your own inhibitions. Let’s just get over ourselves and have a good time. If you wanna dance in the aisles, get up onstage, dress up, you can take it to that level of interactivity.’”

Although one might expect a largely female audience in attendance for the Pop Princess Sing Along, MacLennan says it’s easy for guys and girls to enjoy the saccharine sounds of Britney and Christina.

“No matter gay, straight, guy or girl, these are the songs you can’t help but sing in the car by yourself,” MacLennan said. “Once you get into the theater, you realize, ‘Wow, I’m surrounded by 200 people who all do the same thing that I do,’ and then you just cut loose and enjoy yourself. I’ve seen a group of straight dudes sitting at a Pop Princess show and just having a good time.”

Printed on August 25, 2011 as: Seeing Stars