How Jinkx Monsoon Became a Broadway Star in Chicago
twice RuPaul’s Drag Race Winner, actor, singer, comedian, and Out100 honoree Jinkx Monsoon is the definition of “reserved and busy.” Between conquering season 7 of All Stars, traveling the world with her vacation tour alongside BenDeLaCreme, and launching the new comedy series Sketchy Queens on WOW Presents Plus, Monsoon makes her Broadway debut by playing Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago.
“I am so excited. I was singing songs from Chicago Since I started dragging,” Munson explains. “All That Jazz has been my go-to number. I’ve sung “When You’re Good To Mama” I don’t know how many times. Michelle [Visage] And I was on tour a few years ago and we sang “Class,” another Mama Morton song from the show. But how it happened was really traditional. I was in New York for something I was filming. My agent arrived and said production Chicago On Broadway, he was interested in Lee auditioning for Matron ‘Mama’ Morton and Mary Sunshine. And while I love the role of Mary Sunshine, I’m ten times more interested in auditioning for Mama Morton. So when I auditioned, all they read to me was Mama Morton.”
“I auditioned like every actor does to get a role,” she adds. “I sang the song a few times. I took some acting notes and incorporated them into the song. I did a little scene with a reader. It was a very traditional audition. I told them what ideas I had on the character, what directions I wanted to take, why the show was important to me. And I got On the role…. I’ll tell you, 10 years in the industry, I’ve been through countless things. I’m so used to auditioning and not getting the role. And this time, I just got it.”
Pictured: Jinkx Monsoon takes the stage Chicago
Monsoon is not new to the stage. In fact, she has spent the past decade performing in stage productions of Henry VAnd rentAnd Spring awakeningAnd Hedwig and the Angry InchAnd Hairspray. She is also set to embark on a nationwide tour of the musical Xanadu in 2019, but that production collapsed before it got started. Now you’ll be on the great white road, a distinction that at first felt “surreal” after years of effort.
“I am someone who is not constantly second-guessing everything and constantly doubting everything and constantly questioning my worth and my ability,” she muses. “I don’t know if this is where I’m at with therapy, or where I’m at with self-care, or certain accomplishments under my belt….or the first time in my life, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I worked so hard for this.'” And, of course, that’s where I am.” Which is really hard for an overly anxious and self-critical Virgo to say!
Monsoon brings a critical view of the political world too. As she celebrates President Biden’s recent signing of the Respect for Marriage Act, which federally strengthened protections for same-sex marriage, Monson also acknowledges how difficult it can be to feel hopeful about politics during this day and age. “I think I’m a bit of a nihilist at this point, because I’m excited to have a president who recognizes the gay community and ‘respect’ is right in the title, so there’s a lot to celebrate,” notes Monson. “But Roe v. Wade It was overturned after 50 years as a Supreme Court ruling. And so I lost hope in our government. This is where I am.”
In the midst of a newly invigorated conservative backlash against LGBTQ+ people and a definite anti-drag rebuttal among right-wingers, RuPaul’s Drag Race is moving to MTV, the largest cable network within the Paramount conglomerate. As the queen of all queens, Monsoon believes drag art can only benefit from this larger platform.
“Any step you take into the mainstream is a positive,” she declares. “drag race He is currently doing more for the LGBT community than any politician or government official. drag race Removes the stigma of the gay community. drag race He teaches parents to accept their children as they are. drag race Shattering more misconceptions about LGBT people than I’ve ever seen any government person do. So yeah, clouds should continue to rule the world.”
While some performers fear it drag race Moving to MTV would make this art form more “sterile,” and Monsoon feels differently. “Did we have any fears of rock becoming so mainstream that it would lose its edge?” she meditates. “I mean, that’s true of every art form. It’s up to the artist. Will the art form lose its edge?” No, because there will still be underground drag artists doing underground drag. There will still be alternative drag artists doing alternate drag. Drag won’t lose Its edge. Mainstream drag may be losing its edge, but that’s part of what’s in the mainstream… becoming accessible to more and more people.”
Monson concludes, “If you’re a good artist, you’ll find a way to keep doing the drag you’ve always done carefully and thoughtfully for a wide audience.” If people are worried about losing their draw advantage, they really need to start doing some extra work. A withdrawal that becomes prevalent will not affect their work unless they choose to allow it.”
Jinkx Monsoon will play Matron “Mama” Morton in the series Chicagorom January 16 to March 12 at the Ambassador Theater on Broadway.
This article is part of OutsideJanuary/February 2023 problem, on newsstandsebruary 7. Support non-sexual media and subscribe – or download through Amazon, Kindle, Nook or Apple News.