Interview: Meet the New Broadway Baby of RuPaul's Drag Race- Plasma

New episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race air Fridays at 8pm on MTV.

By: Feb. 23, 2024
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

The hills were alive with the sound of rusic last week as RuPaul's Drag Race contestants participated in the most anticipated challenge for all Broadway-lovers, the Rusical. How do you solve a problem like casting a Rusical? Well it isn't so much a problem with a true theatre queen like Plasma to lead the company.

Plasma, a BFA wielding drag performer based out of New York City, channeled her inner Julie Andrews as Mariah in last week's episode, earning her second challenge win of the season. The first, she won three weeks previously for her nod to Barbra Streisand in RDR Live. Will she take on another beloved Broadway personality in tonight's Snatch Game epsiode? You'll have to tune in to find out!

In the meantime, Plasma checks in with BroadwayWorld to discuss her awesome Rusical performance and her theatre roots.

Let's start with the Rusical. You must be so proud of your performance. How are you feeling looking back at it? 

I think being cast as the lead in your high school one act play is one thing. And then fighting for the lead on internationally-renowned and Emmy Award-winning television is quite another. [Laughs] Looking back at it... to quote John Patrick Shanley, I remember having such doubts! Now I just am so proud that I advocated on my own behalf and just went totally wild and unapologetically into it because that's what my BFA trained me to do- to not look back. Watching it all these months after filming, it feels very much like a true representation of my tenacity... or maybe audacity, if you will. 

It would have been criminal if you hadn't been that part. So I'm so glad that you fought for it. 

Thank you! It just felt very much like it was meant for me, not even including the personal significance that The Sound of Music has always had for me. So I'm very, very proud of how it went down. 

I'm sure that you into Drag Race with the goal of winning... but was there also a hope of "I just want to get to the Rusical"? 

It's funny. I actually walked into Drag Race with two goals. My first goal was to last past the first week. And then I figured out that no one was eliminated in our first weeks. So that was conveniently checked off my list. My second goal was to make it to the Snatch Game, which we now know that I have made it to the Snatch Game. And then along the way, getting there, we had the Barbra Streisand moment in week four for the RDR Live Challenge and then now we had The Sound of Rusic. So leading up to the challenge that I thought was my sole purpose on Drag Race... and then having these moments of personal accomplishments along the way...  it just felt very, very meant to be. When we got to the Rusical and it did very much feel like this is what I came for. This is my moment. 

You definitely got some light shade from your castmates about being such a theatre queen...

I've gotten that a lot! And even when I was getting my BFA, I was sort of like a know-it-all about musical theater because it saved my life growing up in rural northeast Texas, where theater didn't really take a front seat. And I've sort of over the course of my young adult life had to actively choose to not hide the fact that musical theater raised me in a lot of ways. It taught me a lot. It diversified my interests. It created a lot more versatility in me for understanding the human experience. And I really had to grow into my unapologetic nature in loving musical theater.

I wanna go back a little bit and talk about you as a kid. When did theater come into your life and how? 

I started doing my junior high theater in seventh grade. I did a play called Wiley and the Hairy Man for our One Act Play Festival. And then I did summer camp theater- I went to a summer intensive called the Performing Arts Project that changed my life.  I just sort of was like that kid who, when everyone else was listening to Nicki Minaj or Taylor Swift, I was listening to the revival of A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones. So I was over there trying to perform "Liaisons" in front of all of my classmates and they were like, "What in the absolute hell is he doing?"

I guess I could say that my first impactful theater experience was when I saw Wicked the summer between fourth and fifth grade. I remember it so profoundly. My parents love to tell the story that they weren't even watching the show because I was so far in front of them on the edge of my seat, looking over the mezzanine balcony that they were watching me watch the show. 

So then you went on to get your BFA at the University of Oklahoma, right? What was your experience there like?

I absolutely loved it. I loved almost every single second of it. It was brutally hard and incredibly inspiring. It was like what they say in college audition. campus tours, which is it's a conservatory-style training in a liberal arts education setting. 

I actually got my formal drag start at the University of Oklahoma. They have the largest drag show in the state of Oklahoma to date. And that started my freshman year of college and I remember thinking like, "Oh, I didn't think that in Oklahoma there would be a place for this." And then it just grew and grew and grew. 

Interview: Meet the New Broadway Baby of RuPaul's Drag Race- Plasma
Photo courtesy OU University Theatre

I wasn't really playing any queer roles in college until we did Cabaret, the fall of my junior year. It was the last show we did before the COVID-19 lockdown. And I just remember... it was the first show I ever wore distinctive makeup in. I wore heels on the show, I wore wig in the show. It was just sort of like my first touch of theater, queer, drag artistry, where I was allowed and encouraged to go completely all the way into this exploration of queerness and joy mixed with and respect for the history of queer people. It really changed my life. I loved my college experience. 

And when did drag become the focus for you?

After I graduated, I moved to New York just like the original plan was in June of 2021 after I got my degree. And I realized, okay, Broadway does not exist right now, but the drag community is having a resurgence after COVID. So let me just dip my feet in and see what happens. And I never looked back.

Being a New York City resident, do you get to see a lot of Broadway?

I try! Right  now my schedule is so insane so I don't get to see as much as I would like to. And the Broadway that I can afford is not necessarily the Broadway that I would like to invest my money buying a ticket for! [Laughs]

I just saw the Sweeney Todd revival for the first time a couple of days ago, which was outstanding. It was Nicholas Christopher and DeLaney Westfall.  It was like one of those theater experiences where the understudies were hungry and it felt so much like they were really working hard for every single payoff. I felt them fighting for everything, it was really fantastic. 

I know that the vintage Broadway divas are so much a part the Plasma vibe. Are there any like Broadway people of today who inspire you?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I'm a huge Patti LuPone fan. I'm a huge Bernadette Peters fan. I'm a huge fan of Micaela Diamond. I have some friends in Kimberly Akimbo I'm really, really smitten with. I love J. Harrsion Ghee! I think I bet them briefly outside of a drag thing. Annaleigh Ashford is a comic genius. Nikki Renee Daniels is fabulous. Jennifer Simard, Megan Hilty! Genuinely, there's not someone that I don't have an appreciation for. 

Can we talk about your "Don't Rain on My Parade" music video? What was the process of creating that like?

When we got back from filming, I started thinking about how I wanted to celebrate that win on the show. And I thought to myself,  you know, there aren't many opportunities like this. Once One Dream comes true and the door opens, how do you continue this momentum of doors opening? How do you continue checking dreams off of your bucket list? As long as I can remember, I have been completely and utterly obsessed with Barbra Streisand's "Don't Run On My Parade" from Funny Girl. 

And so I got together with some friends and I started with, "Okay, do we know anyone with a tugboat?" [Laughs] Then a couple of days later, my director, Michael McCrary, called me and was like, you'll never believe this. I have a friend of a friend who connected us to the South Street Seaport Museum and they were interested in loaning us a tugboat! And I was like, okay, so that means somehow cosmically, that this is supposed to happen. 

I've had the film version of that song imprinted on my mind for my entire life. So I just sort of got my team together and decided that we were gonna do a love letter to New York. It just felt like my team rallied around me and trusted my vision and all were inspired by the thing that inspired me. 

Well brava, it's so well done. If Broadway came knocking, is that like a path that you could see yourself going down?

Oh, without hesitation, absolutely. Broadway was my first dream ever in this life, ever since I watched probably Funny Girl or the original West Side Story film. It's been my guiding light for my entire life. Yes, Broadway would be a dream come true and an absolute pleasure. 

The Snatch Game episode of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 16 airs tonight, February 23, at 8pm on MTV.