Interview: Peppermint Speaks Her Truth in A TRANSPARENT MUSICAL

Next up at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, the world premiere of A Transparent Musical opening May 31st (with previews beginning May 20th)

By: May. 15, 2023

Interview: Peppermint Speaks Her Truth in A TRANSPARENT MUSICAL

Next up at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum, the world premiere of A Transparent Musical opening May 31, 2023 (with previews beginning May 20th). Tina Landau directs this new musical based on the hit Amazon Prime original TV show by Joey Soloway. I got the chance to chat with Peppermint who plays Davina, the Alexandra Billings' role on the TV show Transparent.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Peppermint!

What cosmic forces initially brought you to this Center Theatre Group's production of A Transparent Musical?

The legendary Tina Landau, I have to say I was aware of her work before I was aware of her as an individual. To say the least her reputation proceeds her. We worked together on a summer project right out of COVID, it was then that she asked me if I'd be interested in A Transparent Musical. I was a huge fan of the television show and said, 'Yes!' immediately!

Is this the first theatrical project you've been involved in surrounded by other transgender and nonbinary artists (Joey Soloway, MJ Kaufman, and Faith Soloway)?

Since all the world is a stage, I won't say I've never worked with transgender people in a theatrical context before but this is the first professional theater musical that I've been able to appear in that had out transgender people not only in the cast, but also on the creative team, and where the characters themselves were also transgender. So in essence, yes!

Had you seen the Amazon TV series before you were cast?

Yes, I was a very enthusiastic fan of the TV show. I remember holding early viewing parties with my producer to get together and watch my good girlfriend Trace Lysette who had a recurring role as Shea.

You are portraying the character of Davina that Alexandra Billings embodied in the series. Had you met this transgender trailblazer before?

I first became aware of Alexandra after watching the TV series. It was only a few years later that she and I both held space while performing during the same season in shows on Broadway. We had the exact same work schedule, so I was never able to get out and see her acclaimed performance in The Nap. I also was so heartbroken when I wasn't able to get back to New York to see her historic run in Wicked. She and I keep missing each other. LOL! I hope she will get to come and see Transparent on stage in Los Angeles. I'm going to send her a personal invite.

If you were to submit Davina on a dating website, what characteristics of Davina would you list?

Fun-loving workaholic, extreme optimist with a spicy side.

What character flaws would you definitely omit?

Single woman who's afraid to resolve the past!

For those unfamiliar with the Amazon series, what would your three-line pitch for A Transparent Musical be?

A new type of coming-of-age dark comedy that shows us the importance of a chosen family while wrestling with the weight of history and its lingering presence, but also that family bonds can triumph in the face of unresolved trauma.

Have you had the opportunity to consult with the creator Joey Soloway on your character she created?

I have. The creative team including Joey were clear that they didn't want me to simply imitate what was so brilliant. Very gracious in allowing me to put my own spin on the character, especially since this is not simply a repeat of the television series set to music. This is a sort of retelling of the characters that were inspired by Faith and Joey Soloway's family upbringing. Apparently, they always had dreams of creating a musical inspired by their family story.

What is your take on a cis actor taking on a transgender role? Staying with Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura? Best person for the part? Ok, only after all transgender actors have the chance to audition?

Cisgender actors have played some of the most notable transgender characters we've seen in film. I think the conversation is less about whether cisgender people are allowed to play these roles, but instead the availability and the inclusion of transgender people in the telling of their own stories especially in the wake of anti-trans legislation and anti-trans violence that seems to plague our community. I believe providing economic opportunities including jobs and entertainment and beyond are one way of addressing and hopefully resolving some of the systemic issues that I believe add to the violence we encounter.

I think Jeffrey Tambor is an accomplished actor, and I remember being moved by the show. It was a beautifully written and groundbreaking show. There was so much progress that was made during that time period. Shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black really helped introduce the idea of a main character being transgender as commonplace. It was a part of the transgender tipping point and no one can take that away. It's unfortunate that his contribution to that Legacy may be a bit tarnished. We are in a different time now, the industry now listens to and includes the voices of marginalized communities in the telling of their own stories.

The entertainment industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry. I will leave the protocols up to the industry professionals and casting agents, but I do think it's important that if we are going to tell and sell the stories of people from marginalized communities, we include authentic voices in the telling of those stories and allow those people to share in the profits.

Is the mantle of being the first (i.e., first out trans contestant on ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race; first trans woman to originate a principal musical role on Broadway ((Pythio in Head Over Heels); ACLU's first-ever Artist Ambassador for Trans Justice) weigh heavily or comfortably on your shoulders?

It's a mixed bag. I am grateful for the recognition, but it does highlight the lack of opportunity that has been provided to transgender individuals historically, and I personally experienced that lack of opportunity in the first half of my career and adult life.

What were your initial responses to being honored with Conde Nast's first annual Queeroes Award, earning a place on Variety's New Power of New York list, and named one of OUT magazine's OUT100 portfolio?

Interview: Peppermint Speaks Her Truth in A TRANSPARENT MUSICAL During 2018 so much was going on in swirling around. It all seems like a blur and a dream. A dream come true. I never thought I'd received the type of recognition that I've received for some of the things that I've done. My dedication to our community and trying to uplift voices of marginalized individuals has always been the driving force for me, telling stories in an inclusive endeavors way just feels more interesting to me, and I like my entertainment with a dose of authenticity. Art as activism.

You co-hosted the Drag Isn't Dangerous telethon May 7th successfully raising over $500,000 to fight recent anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. How incredible were those hours of introducing celebrity allies and fabulous drag queens all coming together for a vital cause?

It felt amazing to watch our community and allies pull together and raise this money. And the donations are STILL coming in!

What are your immediate and long-time goals?

To make it through this next political cycle with the joy of my community firmly intact despite all of the anti-trans legislation and rhetoric we are experiencing.

Thank you again, Peppermint! I look forward to experiencing your Davina and all your other incarnations.

For tickets to the live performances of A Transparent Musical through June 25,2023; click on the button below:


 Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows Opens With E Photo
Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows Opens With Encore Performance of BRICK-BY-BRICK

The Inaugural Hollywood Fringe Adjacent – Festival of Solo Shows opens on June 21, 2023 with an encore performance of BRICK-BY-BRICK starring Amanda Casarella at 8 PM, followed by the world premiere of PANTEA (Everything) in Exile starring Pantea Ommi at 9:15 PM.

Open-Door Playhouse Debuts THE SUBSTITUTE in July Photo
Open-Door Playhouse Debuts THE SUBSTITUTE in July

Open-Door Playhouse continues to present short plays in podcast form. Its upcoming play, The Substitute, will debut on July 26, 2023 online.

Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival Presents HOT OFF THE PRESS On June 24 Photo
Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival Presents HOT OFF THE PRESS On June 24

Hot Off the Press is a program of new solo writings presented by talented scribes in staged readings. The show will be presented at 6:00 p.m. PDT on Saturday, June 24, 2023.

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE! IN CONCERT Will Embark on National Tour Photo
AMERICAN GIRL LIVE! IN CONCERT Will Embark on National Tour

American Girl, one of the nation's most storied children's brands and a cornerstone in Mattel's (NASDAQ: MAT) portfolio of purposeful products, today announced a new live concert experience for the whole American Girl fan community to enjoy.

From This Author - Gil Kaan

      Gil Kaan, a former Managing Editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas of film, television, and stage in hi... (read more about this author)


#repshow# in[i]# Gunhild Carling Big Band
Catalina Jazz Supper Club (6/14-6/14)Tracker VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About Michael Jackson As Told By His Glove
Carl Sagan And Ann Druyan Theater (5/05-7/01)Tracker PHOTOS VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# Celebration Theatre presents A New Brain
Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center (4/29-6/24)Tracker
#repshow# in[i]# My Dead Dad
Hudson Guild Theatre (6/01-6/22)
#repshow# in[i]# Stories@The Playhouse: Best of BackStory
Sierra Madre Playhouse (6/12-6/12)
#repshow# in[i]# The Collective
Three Clubs (6/02-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# La Havana Madrid
#repshow# in[i]# Hot Off the Press
Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival (6/24-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Cadenza | Sci-fi Thriller
The Hudson Theatres (6/03-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Back Porch
The Victory Theatre Center (6/02-7/09)

Recommended For You