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BWW Interview: Artist Spotlight - Joshua T. McGowen

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Joshua T. McGowen gives an exclusive BWW interview about his career and current projects.

BWW Interview: Artist Spotlight - Joshua T. McGowenThe pandemic is keeping us all busy- with social distancing, mask wearing, and worrying, there's hardly time for anything else. I got a break from researching information about COVID vaccines and took a chance to catch up with a favorite OKC performer. Joshua T. McGowen has been performing in and around Oklahoma City and all over the U.S. for over ten years. He's a beloved favorite of the Pollard Theatre Company in Guthrie, OK and has starred in several leading roles there.

McGowen was a staple in The Pollard's annual production of A Territiorial Christmas Carol and has been seen the last two seasons as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. He played the uproarious Carmen Ghia in their 2017 production of The Producers, and later that summer the equally stand-out La Cienega in the high-flying Bring it On: The Musical.

He's portrayed the enigmatic and sexy Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Boom's interactive freak-fest The Rocky Horror Picture Show. McGowen gave an acclaimed performance as Lt. Daniel Kaffee in The Pollard's 2018 production of Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men. Most recently, he played the heartbroken hero Duke in The Boom's production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical. If that's not enough, he's also a well-known drag performer in Oklahoma City, using the stage name Vera Ball.

All bias aside, McGowen is a personal favorite, and I'm lucky to call him friend. He answered an exclusive Q&A below to talk all things performance and what he's been doing to stay busy during these turbulent times.

BWW: Did you always know you wanted to be a performer? What got you interested in pursuing it as a career?

JM: Yes, absolutely! When I was a kid, I always loved to make people laugh, to bring people joy or move people in some way with a dramatic reading. One of the first sitcoms I remember watching was I Love Lucy, and I was immediately captivated with Lucille Ball's performance. Her comedic timing and facial expressions, especially her eyes, were just flawless and I thought, "That. I wanna do THAT."

BWW: How have you been able to stay busy during the pandemic?

JM: I've always been a creator. Even when I'm not on stage or in front of the camera, I'm always creating something. Whether it's photography, building puppets, designing costumes for drag, painting, you name it, I've probably dabbled in it. Haha. Specifically during this pandemic though I have been doing a lot more abstract painting and have even been fortunate enough to have my art showcased and have even sold some pieces!

BWW: In what ways is performing drag similar to performing in theatre? Is it more challenging at times?

JM: I would say there are very few similarities to performing drag and performing in theatre aside from both performing on a stage and entertaining audiences. Both can be very challenging in very different ways. For instance, when I played Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men at the Pollard, I was onstage for two and a half hours, talking non-stop, having to keep the audience engaged in order to tell this story and hoping to have moved them in some way. When I'm onstage as Vera Ball performing drag numbers, I'm in heels, hoping I don't fall down. Haha!

Both are difficult in their own respective ways. What I absolutely love about Drag, is it's like I'm my own writer, director, designer and actor. I get to write a comedic act, design my own costumes and then perform as this character that I've created. It's like having your own little sketch to perform every week. With a play, like A Few Good Men, I get to immerse myself into this other character's life and story, that somebody else wrote, and I get to perform this full story night after night, and each time finding more about the character and the story than the night before.

BWW: What is your dream role? Go big!

JM: My dream role will always and forever be Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Even after I get the chance to play the role, I'll still say that it's my dream. To play THAT character and to tell THAT story is the ultimate moving experience, the ultimate storytelling that you can do as an actor, for me anyways. That story encompasses me on so many levels and to be able to explore those levels and explore that character and be able to share that story with an audience would absolutely be a dream come true.

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Follow Josh on Instagram @jtmcgowen and his art page on Facebook.

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From This Author Adrienne Proctor