De Alba on Lady Patra  

By Entertainer David de Alba*

 David & 
 Donny West

  In the highly competitive Showbiz field of female impersonation it is rare to find such a sweet and non-jaded person as Lady Patra  a.k.a. Donny West.   He has created his own 'live' singing female persona, Lady Patra which has been touted as Minnesota's number one female impersonation act by local critics, and a holder of many titles like Queen of Gay Minneapolis, Empress of Zoogies, Dutchess of Hearts and Queen of Hearts, to name a few.   He has been entertaining audiences for years with his stunning impression of Diana Ross.   Donny is also an author and a poet.   When you have all this talent and a kind soul to go with it, how can you miss!   So Ladies and Gentlemen of the Cyberspace World, it is my pleasure to introduce my new Online friend, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Sept. 2002, the talented artist, Lady Patra!

Donny West 
 as Lady PatraDavid:  Donny dear, where were you born and where did you spend most of your youth?

Donny West 
 Age sixL.P.:  I was born in Kansas City, Missouri where I lived until I was 15 years old at which time I moved to Minneapolis with my mom and stepfather, and my sibblings.   So I guess most of my youth was spent in Kansas City.

David:  As a young boy did you get any support or advice from anyone that helped you get into Showbiz?

L.P.:  My dear mother and grandmother have been the soul supporters of everything I did.   They always reminded me of how talented I was and that I could be whatever I wanted to be.

David:  Were you influenced by any famous lady singers for you to create your Lady Patra character on stage?

L.P.:  Of course Diana Ross.   I think I grew up with her from the days of seeing her on The Ed Sullivan Show and watching her career.   Donny West 
 as Billie Holiday 
 Tina TurnerOther women who have influenced me were people like Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Pearl Bailey, Eartha Kitt, Lena Horne, Mahalia Jackson, Della Reese, Dianne Carroll on and on I can go.   Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, all of them depending on the songs I am performing may be reflected through my songs in some sort of way, but more than that they represent strong black women who believed in themselves and their passions.

David:  Can you describe your Lady Patra act and what songs do you perform in that role?

L.P.:  Lady Patra on stage is Diana Ross.   The songs I sing; Touch Me In The Morning, Endless Love, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, The Supremes' songs Baby Love, Stop In The Name Of Love, to Billie Holiday's My Man, Them There Eyes, to name a few.   As a look-a-like performer my show is done in the style of a Diana Ross Concert.   My solo performance is patterned after Ms. Ross' HBO Concert recorded at Ceaser's Palace.   I talk about that particular show in my book, "This Is Lady Patra, Secret Of My Song".   The costumes I wear have usually been replicas of something Ms. Ross wears, but I have been picking some of my own designs lately.   My hair, well let's just say, a girl has to do what she has to do in that department.   Ha ha.

Lady Patra 
 on StageDavid:  You have just finished writing a book about yourself and your Showbiz experiences.   I was very honoured when you asked me to give you some comments to be part of the epilogue.   Can you let my readers know more about the book to get them interested in buying it when it is published?

L.P.:  My book is about several encounters I have experienced on this path to my Showbiz success.   I have worked with and met a lot of exciting people like Divine, Eartha Kitt and RuPaul.   I talk about these encounters as well as my own experiences as a Diana Ross look-a-like impersonator.   My story is a tribute to all of the impersonators who are no longer with us.   It's sort of a "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" approach with a Diana Ross and The Supremes flair but it's my life experiences.   Very exciting.

David:  I understand you also write poetry and song.   What subjects do you write about, and where might we find some of your work?

L.P.:  I have recently written several lyrics for what were to be songs for my CD "Dear Lover" which was originally supposed to be a song, was recently published in a book of poetry entitled "The Joy That Follows".   I do have available in one of my programs a book of some of my poetry with several color photographs of myself and the opening speech from my book launching.   This too will be available for the purchase price of $20.00.   Most of my poetry is about love but I also write about happiness, sadness, pain and just plain silliness.   I hope to record a CD soon from some of my poetry.   Soon to be released as a single is my poem, now a song "Because of You" which I wrote sort of as a tribute to Diana Ross.

Lady Patra 
 on StageDavid:  You told me that you consider yourself an actor and a singer and that your well-known Lady Patra act is just one of your roles.   What other types of Showbiz work have you done?

L.P.:  I have appeared in several theatrical roles.   I really miss doing 'live' theater and I would like to give it a try again, maybe bring my Lady Patra character to the 'live'-dramatic stage.   Most of my appearances have been male roles on the play circuit.   I believe I am ready for film and television.   As you know I have appeared on television several times as Lady Patra, all of which were in a musical capacity.   Recently I appeared on a children's television show for a major hospital as myself.   I sang a song from the movie, "The Land Before Time."   I love doing things for the children as well.

David:  What is Donny like off stage?

L.P.:  Of course, one would have to get to know me to find out for themselves, but I would say I am lots of fun to hang out with, compassionate, caring, loving and I can be a little stubborn at times;   a faithful friend who will always try my best to be there for you.   There is a quiet side to me.

Lady Patra 
 as Diana RossDavid:  Do you have any particular foods that you like?   Are you a good cook or do you prefer eating out?

L.P.:  I like a variety of foods therefore I love to eat at fancy resturaunts.   I like trying new ethnic dishes but my favorites are Italian, Mexican and I love barbequed pork ribs.   Coming from Kansas City I was practically raised on the world famous "Gates Barbeque Ribs" and I stop for them everytime I am in Kansas City.   I also entertain a lot so I have made my share of dishes.   I guess I am a pretty good cook, but it's always better when someone else does it.

David:  Do you have any hobbies or interests that occupy your time when you are not performing?

L.P.:  Besides taking care of all of my pets I find myself spending most of my time in aerobics dance classes or African dance classes.   I also love watching old movies and relaxing at home.   Long walks with my dog Sheena keep me pretty busy also.   My all time favorite passion is going to The Mall of America.   I love to "shop 'till I drop" as they say.

Donny West 
 with SheenaLady Patra 
 as Diana RossDavid:  You said that you have a dog named Sheena.   What kind of dog is it, and what other pets do you have in your home?

L.P.:  Sheena is a German shepherd mix and she is 4 years old.   I had her since she was 8 weeks old!   We also have 4 birds, (one blue and gold mackaw name Lucy, one cockatiel name Buddy, and two quaker parrots named Forest and Chipper) and as if that is not enough I have two outdoor water gardens where I keep a bunch of gold fish and koi in the spring and summer.   I also have a couple of 55 gallon aquariums with oscars and the koi, and gold fish live in one in the fall and winter months.   I am an animal lover and I really feel for those that can't speak for themselves.   All of my animals are like my children.   In fact, most of my friends feel that they are treated better than some humans.   That's just the way I am.

David:  Is Showbiz your only means of income, or do you have a day job?

L.P.:  Well I do have a day job that keeps me busy as well.   I am a supervisor of the housekeeping department for a large major hospital in Minneapolis.   But even there I find myself entertaining for the staff and families.

Lady Patra as 
 Diana RossDavid:  Do you have any theatrical goals for the near future?

Donny West 
 as Little RichardL.P.:  Yes.   I am focusing on classes to develop my acting skills and more voice lessons to try other characters. (My "Little Richard" on right)   I have goals to land some film and TV work.   Get ready world here I come!   Of course I will continue to write my poetry and songs.   That will always be a part of me.

David:  Do you plan to live forever in Minnesota or like so many 'snow birds' do you have a Shangri-la in mind where you would like to retire someday and maybe still do some theatrical work?

L.P.:  We have been talking about moving to Florida but I'm leaning towards Las Vegas or New York.   I hope to continue to work theatrically wherever I am.   God willing I will continue to grow in my craft.

David:  Do you find that the use of the Internet has expanded your circle of friends and acquaintances, either in Showbiz or in other areas of interest to you?

Donny WestL.P.:  Yes.    I love getting fan mail via e-mail and at my p.o. address.   It makes it easy for people to contact me for future performances, etc. and soon people will be able to visit my Web site that we are currently working on.   I find it is so much easier to send and receive e-mails than it is to mail a letter, or in some cases make a phone call that may not get answered.   E-mails are answered eventually.

David:  If your Fairy Godmother were to grant you three wishes, what would you ask for?

L.P.:  Success in all that I do, happiness in all that I seek and love for all mankind.   Success, happiness and love.

I was so delighted and honored that Mr. De Alba asked me to be a part of this interview series.   After viewing the award winning David De Alba website I was instantly entertained and taken back to so many fond memories of the world famous "Finocchio's of San Francisco."   A new found friend in the entertainment field is always welcome.   David has made me feel that I have found not only a new friend but he has also given me inspiration to continue to grow in my craft.   Thank you for such a wonderful site and your willingness to give other entertainers like myself a chance to shine.

Friend to friend!
God bless you!
Donny / Lady Patra

This is Lady Patra North

Ask about the following literary treasures:

    Dear Lover  A Poem in the book "The Joy That Follows".

    Lady Patra North  A Collection of Color Photos and Poetry.

    This is Lady Patra North,  Secret Of My Song  An Autobiography  =======>

Book signing, June 2002
Snail mail address: Donny West
Lady Patra Productions
P.O. Box 20331
Bloomington, MN 55420

Booking info. line 612-386-5654

You can e-mail Donny West aka Lady Patra at

Visit the Lady Patra Web Site at

* Cuban/American entertainer David de Alba (also known as "Heri, Hairstylist of the Stars") is known for his live singing impressions as a concert artist since 1965.   He has worked at the world famous Finocchio Club of San Francisco (USA) for many years.   Visit the award winning Web Site "David de Alba’s Theatrical Arts & Tributes" at and you can e-mail him c/o