Orlando Fringe 2024 review: 'W.W. Double D! What Would Dolly Do? A Tribute to Dolly Parton'

A tribute woven with life-affirming lessons about being comfortable in your own skin.


During her half-century as an entertainment superstar, Dolly Parton has evolved from the butt of boob jokes to a sort of secular saint, with devoted fans on both sides of the political aisle. Similarly, plus-sized drag queen Tora Himan — the creation of writer/director Matthew Burton — bills “W.W. Double D” as a tribute cabaret, but that undersells the complex character unveiled beneath her big blonde bouffant wig.

After mysteriously discovering Dolly’s luggage in her own dressing room, Himan sings some of Parton’s biggest hits to prerecorded karaoke tracks and shares memories of their similarly humble beginnings as backwoods Barbies who both reinvented their images. Although she tells some stories from Dolly’s perspective and evokes her healing energy, she wisely isn’t attempting to impersonate Parton vocally.

Upbeat bangers like "9 to 5," which are delivered with nightclub-worthy crowd interactions, may be the main draw, but this show’s emotional climax comes when Tora marks her mother’s recent passing with a mournful “I Will Always Love You” that’s much closer in spirit to Dolly’s original version than Whitney’s famous cover. Dolly Parton’s music speaks to millions of people, and just like her coat of many colors, Tora’s heartfelt, handmade tribute is woven with life-affirming lessons about being comfortable within your own skin.

Orlando Fringe Festival: Tickets and times for "W.W. Double D! What Would Dolly Do? A Tribute to Dolly Parton"
Location Details

Fringe ArtSpace

54 W. Church St., Orlando Downtown

407-436 -7800

orlandofringe.org/artspace

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