BWW Interviews: JINKX MONSOON Takes Over the Holidays in Seattle!
It seems everything is coming up Jinkx lately. What with winning "RuPaul's Drag Race", a sold out run of his "Vaudevillians" show in New York, and his award winning performance of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" here in Seattle (click here for my review of last January's production), Jerick Hoffer (a.k.a. Jinkx Monsoon) has a lot to crow about. And now with three upcoming shows in December (including a remount of the aforementioned "Hedwig"), it seems Jinkx is taking over the Holidays as well. I recently had a conversation with Jerick in between his many rehearsals to see how his whirlwind life has been going since the win.
You've had a terrific year with winning RuPaul's Drag Race and your shows. Tell us what it's been like.
It's been a surreal dream come true. RuPaul's Drag Race seemed like a pipe dream two years ago, and now it's my reality. Ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to be a performer in New York City, and now that's a reality too. So I'm starting to feel like the sky is the limit.
Nerve-wracking once I realized who they were, sitting in the center of the audience. It was terribly exciting to perform my original show and comedy for Neil and John, as well as Michael Mayer (the Director of Neil's "Hedwig" run), and Stephen Trask (the composer of the score). They were all super gracious and wonderful to have at our show.
And now you're back in Seattle with three different shows over the holidays? Tell us about those.
" Unwrapped" is a new original show by Major Scales and myself, featuring holiday classics, contemporary holiday jingles, and some original music by Major, all contributing to a boozy jaded look at the holiday season. Then there's "Homo For The Holidays", produced by Delourue Presents, a tongue in cheek spoof of the holiday TV pageant, starring some of Seattle's finest queer talent. And then there's the encore performance of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" at the historic Moore Theater. I will also be performing a limited run of "Unwrapped" in New York City from Dec 7th - 10th at The Laurie Beechman Theater.
What was your first drag role?
My first drag role was the character Widow Simone in the ballet "La Fille Mal Gardee". She's a crazy social climbing woman trying to marry off her daughter to the wealthy town idiot. And in the middle of the show, she gets to perform a clog dance. I loved it.
You've been all over town in so many roles, more than just drag, with roles at Seattle Shakespeare Company and "Spring Awakening" at Balagan. Which do you prefer, drag or non-drag roles?
I've always preferred drag roles, because typically I get better costumes and I've always felt more connected with the female characters in my favorite shows than most of the male characters. But every once in a while a non drag role comes along like Moritz in "Spring Awakening" or Jack in "Into The Woods", which are roles I am content to play even if they are not in high heels.
"Hedwig" was such a big hit for you, are you tired of it yet? Or maybe you can take over for Neil on Broadway once he's done?
I'm definitely not tired of it, because the material in that show is so strong and unique that it really fuels the performer. And if they offered me the role as first replacement for Neil Patrick Harris, I would take it in a heartbeat.
What drew you to "Hedwig"?
When I was fourteen, I saw the movie for the first time. I didn't even know there was a stage version, but the story resonated with me so much that it's been a profound part of my life ever since I discovered it. When I found out there was a stage show, I started to use the material for singing competitions and I realized that the character suited me very well. And that led me to perform it as my senior thesis in college, and I think that led to the Balagan Theatre in Seattle asking me to play Hedwig in their production of it.
How did you and Major Scales come up with your Vaudevillians act?
We were in the play "Our Town" together in college, both with minor bit roles, and we would go home exhausted and sit on the couch poking fun at the play, pretending to be the world's oldest people. This led to the joke that generated the idea of The Vaudevillians; what would it be like if all of our favorite pop songs were written in the 1920's?
So after "Hedwig", and "Unwrapped" and "Homo for the Holidays", what's next for Jinkx?
Major Scales and I are working on our first album, The Inevitable Album, which features some of my favorite standards and covers, as well as original songs by myself, Major Scales, and Fred Schneider of the B-52's. It's a torch song album for this generation. It will be released in 2014.
What about your spare time, not that you have any. What do you do to unwind?
I play a lot of video games, cook meals for my best friends and chosen family in Seattle, and find time to visit my family in Portland, Oregon.
Tell us something about Jerick that your fans may not be aware of.
I'm extremely into Greek Mythology and know almost everything about the classic Greek myths.
And what is your geekdom? What do you geek out about?
Whenever a new Zelda game comes out or a new "American Horror Story: Coven".
And with all these options this holiday season, you're bound to come away Jinkx'd.
Jerick/Jinkx will be performing in select performances of "Homo for the Holidays" from December 12th through the 24that the OddFellows Building. For tickets or information visit them online at www.strangertickets.com/events/10132004/homo-for-the-holidays-2013.
Jerick/Jinkx will be performing in "Jinkx Monsoon & Major Scales: Unwrapped" for two performances on December 15th at the Cornish Playhouse. For tickets or information visit them online at www.cornish.edu/calendar/event/jinkx_monsoon_major_scales_unwrapped.
Jerick/Jinkx will be performing in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" from December 17th through the 22nd at the Moore Theatre. For tickets or information visit them online at www.stgpresents.org.