The new, much larger Lucky Cheng’s opened at 240 W. 52nd St., around the same time that Suthon was unfortunately diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. The new flashy location also inspired a “stronger theatrical presence,” though the timing for Lucky Cheng’s development wasn’t ideal.
“The move was ambitious considering her state of health,” says Jason, who has a daughter, Josephine, with Suthon.
In Times Square, Lucky Cheng’s got a new life. People would walk by and spontaneously attend shows, many of them experiencing and learning about drag for the first time. The larger space “broadened the audience and gave [us] the opportunity to experiment more and keep ideas fresh,” Jason says.
“I made it to Broadway in my mind,” Paulina says. “When the Jersey Boys were home with their feet on the couch, Mama was working it eight shows a weekend.” She says the grittiness of the East Village and its sought-after nightlife experience “set the tone for the bawdiness that [she] continued.”