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Best LGBT Entertainment in Central Florida

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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.  

Singer/Songwriters/Bands

The Orlando Gay Chorus (@orlandogaychorus), 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 Ritz Theater in Sanford or one of the many other partnering venues. Playing to the tune of inclusivity and acceptance is the LGBT- friendly Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Colorguard. They can be seen performing at Space Coast Pride and many other events around Central Florida. 

Will’s Pub in Orlando is an iconic establishment and has become a staple in the Central Florida music scene, providing a platform for both well-known and up-and-coming artists to showcase their talent. Will’s boasts an extensive beer list, as well as cleverly crafted cocktails like the corn whiskey-based, Dad Jokes. Enjoy the eclectic, yet inviting atmosphere while listening to some amazing musicians like the local Shay Butter (@shaybutterband), whose jazzy, R&B sound is as smooth as their name suggests. Other acts to look out for include the self-proclaimed “bounce house rock ‘n’ roll” band TV Dinner (@tvdinnerfl) and the melodic alt-metal Rose Madder (@rosemadderfl).

The Social on N. Orange Avenue is another perfect venue to catch your favorite local indie acts like Kurt Travis and Midwxst.  Booking bands of a slightly larger scale, Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando Citywalk and the world-famous House of Blues in Disney Springs are Central Florida staples for live music. Be sure to check their websites for the most current acts.

Drag

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 and performing her classics at Savoy, a local LGBTQ favorite for hot dancers and refreshing cocktails. She also spills the tea on the latest Drag Race news.

Divine Grace (@missdivinegrace) who is known for paying homage to the late Bea Arther with her Maude and Dorothy character impersonations. Now performing at the popular club, 808 Orlando (@the808orlando), her lavish outifits of color and variety of throwback tunes will have you singing and dancing the night away.

Angel Sheridan and Mimi Lierre (@mimilierre) currently host a Broadway Drag Brunch 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 will be raspy from so much singing along! Don’t miss this show.

DJs

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 (@blacksuede66) and DJ BMF (@djmbf) are staples at Will’s Pub. 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 let you get funky all night long. DJ Edil Hernandez (@djedilhernandez) 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 was voted one of the best local DJ’s of 2023. You can find him at Southern Nights Orlando and other venues around town.

DJ Brianna (@djbriannalee) brings you the tunes at the lively local restaurant and bar, Island Time. Brianna knows how to make the perfect transitions, pauses, repeats, and more, spin your way. The beat stays fresh and heavy as local queens like April Fresh (@aprilfreshdrag) and Darcel Stevens (@darcelstevensk) sashay across the dance floor. DJ Dido (@djdido_salsa) runs Escandalo! Latin Night at Savoy Orlando. He turns up the salsa heat and makes the rhythm flow with his delicious beats. As one guest on Dido’s page commented, “Oye que rico!”.

Comedy

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.

Chris Dinger is the executive director of Sak Comedy Club, whose stage is graced by comedians and comedy school instructors like Ali Flores, Chelsea Hilend, and Adam Scharf. This school for comedians is stacked with Orange County’s finest and funniest. You never know, you might be watching the next Wayne Brady, an Orlando native who got his start at this very club. 

The Improv Orlando is a Central Florida favorite among stand-up fans. The best local comedians as well bigger national names, like Pete Davidson and D.L. Hugley, take the stage at this popular comedy club. Don’t miss their Comedy School Showcases to get a first glimpse at up-and-coming amateur comedians. Bonkerz Comedy Club Orlando is another top spot to catch all the hottest comedy acts. You can expect your sides to hurt from laughter after a trip to Bonkerz, which pulls in the funniest touring acts like James Yon and Vince Taylor.

Cabaret/Burlesque

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.

Blue Star (@babybluestar) 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. Another history-maker, Ms. Brown’s Colors of Burlesque (@msbrownscolorsofburlesque) is Orlando’s first and only BIPOC burlesque review. This show is exclusive to the ME Theatre (@metheatrefl), but you can find its incandescent host, Barbarella Brown, performing all over the state.

Hang on to your flip flops, because Big Bang Boom Collective and their multiple cabaret offerings will blow you away. Their namesake troupe, Big Bang Boom Cabaret (@bigbangboomcabaret), has been delighting audiences for over a decade. Their newer additions, Foxy’s Den (@foxysdenparty) and Midnight Fables Cabaret (@midnightfablescabaret) pack no less of a punch. The mouse is no match for these vixens and their fantasy and pop culture-themed shows, held at the Marshall Ellis Theater in Orlando. Big Bang Boom Collective also offers burlesque classes through its Burlesque Conservatory, for those interested in learning the basics and developing a persona. You can even catch some graduates, like the stunning Emma Jewel (@emma.x.jewel), performing with the Collective. Other follow-worthy performers include the sumptuous Misty Rose (@mistyroseburlesque) and the dynamic Goldie La’Vie (@goldie_la_vie) who does double duty in drag as Midas La’Vie.

The incredible ladies of the troupe Mystix Burlesque (@mystixburlesque) show off their skillful dance moves at diverse venues around Orlando.  Find them wowing the crowds at popular local bars, The Abbey and The Dust.  And their Grapes & Garters Nights at Grape & the Grain Wine Bar is a unique experience you cannot miss  Mystix also offers burlesque classes at The Exchange Dance Academy for those curious cabaret kittens out there.

#stillstrongorlando

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.  

For more exciting areas to explore in Central Florida, click here.


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.


**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

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.

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may, 2024

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