back to Drag Artist Discography entry page

Mark Alan Smith

  

 

 

 

     

    

A film has been made about Mark Alan Smith, and the producer was nice enough to
send it to me on DVD, along with the press kit and photos, which I'm sharing with you.

SYNOPSIS

From a Jack to a Queen chronicles the dream of Mark Alan Smith, a Dallas impressionist/ impersonator/ vocalist, to perform in a Las Vegas show. In 1984, Mark auditioned to play Liza Minelli in La Cage at the Riviera in Las Vegas and froze. Almost twenty years later, opportunity knocks when a Las Vegas Producer calls looking for a Bette Midler impersonator for a one night showcase. Mark could make it big if the showcase is picked up by a casino. After six months of phone tag the Producer hires another Bette Midler and Mark must change his act to stay in the show. Mark decides to perform a trio version of "Over the Rainbow" as Judy Garland, Cher, and Patti LaBelle. The Producer flies Mark to Las Vegas for rehearsal, and Mark considers pulling out of the showcase due to miscommunication and confusion with the Producer. The decision to stay is difficult; this is the last thread of hope Mark has to realize his dream. A few months later, Mark returns to Las Vegas for the showcase and is forced to rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse which takes a toll on his voice. Mark performs in the showcase to standing ovation. Interviews with Mark's friends and co-workers and real-time footage help tell the story. The documentary also includes Mark's Dallas cabaret performances, including Barbra Streisand, Carol Channing, Louis Armstrong, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and many others. This is Eric Haynes' first film to direct, produce, videograph and edit before attending film school.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION

Eric A. Haynes shot close to sixty-one hours of footage to make this documentary. The primary shooting started in March 2001 and ended just after September 11, 2001. Since Eric was working full-time he edited in the evenings and on weekends. A rough cut of the film was finished in September 2002, but something was missing. Eric filmed a one year follow-up interview with Mark in October 2002 to tie up loose ends. Many interviews with friends of Mark were shot and only a select few were used to tell this story. The final edit of the documentary was finished in early 2003 after the feedback from many screenings with friends, family, and co-workers.

Eric A. Haynes saw Mark Alan Smith perform for the first time in January 2001 at The Hideaway Clubs in Dallas, Texas. Eric was awed by Mark's vocal abilities and started frequenting the cabaret. At the time, Eric was in his senior year at the University of North Texas working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Business, but his heart was in entertainment production. Mark then announced that he was going to Las Vegas for a showcase. Eric approached his parents for money to produce the documentary and they agreed. Armed with a video camera and a shotgun microphone Eric filmed Mark's performances at The Hideaway Clubs every Saturday night for several months to capture Mark's best performances. Eric recruited college friends as camera operators during interviews.
In June, Eric and Mark flew to Las Vegas for a disastrous rehearsal that almost brought a halt to production when Mark considered pulling out of the showcase. Eric graduated from the University of North Texas in August 2001, a week later he and Mark returned to Las Vegas for more rehearsals and the showcase. The showcase went beautifully and Mark received a standing ovation. Shortly after the showcase, America was attacked by terrorists and the dream of going to Las Vegas slowly withered as more and more Las Vegas showrooms went dark.
Eric got a full-time job in corporate America in November 2001 and was only able to edit on evenings and weekends. In late 2002 the rough cut was finished, only to be followed by multiple changes after screenings with friends, family, and co-workers. Mark saw the finished documentary in early 2003. For the next several months the documentary went through several title changes until From a Jack to a Queen was selected in April 2003.

BIOS

ERIC A. HAYNES

Eric A. Haynes was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. While at the University of North Texas Eric acted in several student short films, as well as co-producing two shorts with a graduate film student. During his senior year, Eric produced a successful event that brought comedienne Margaret Cho to UNT. After graduation Eric tried unsuccessfully to get an entry-level job at a television station or production company, but ended up taking a job in the Marketing department for a telecommunications company. While in Dallas, Eric won an Aegis Award and a Telly Award for an adoption curriculum video that he directed, produced, and authored the DVD for a non-profit adoption agency in Dallas. After spending a year and a half in Dallas, Eric moved to Los Angeles to attend the Los Angeles Film School for further training in film production.

Eric A. Haynes
QLava Productions
7270 Franklin Ave. #306
Los Angeles, CA 90046

www.qlavaproductions.com

Eric A Haynes

MARK ALAN SMITH

Mark Alan Smith was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He began performing lip-sync in drag at the age of 18 on a dare. Five years later, as the result of another dare, he performed a vocal impression of Eartha Kitt singing "Where Is My Man." Mark toured the country performing vocal impressions of Cher, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and others as "Nakoma Shaye." Mark was crowned Miss Gay San Antonio, and was asked to move to Dallas and perform at the Hippodrome. While in Dallas Mark was crowned Miss Gay Texas. Mark performed regularly at several clubs in Dallas, including The Hideaway Clubs, John L's, Michael's, and the Village Station. Mark is currently anxiously awaiting his next career move.

Mark, as himself