Jinkx Monsoon: A star is born
Every now and then you have an “Ah Ha” moment.
One came to me the other night in New York City while I was at the midnight show of The Vaudevillians, a musical-comedy cabaret act starring Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer), winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season five.
What a talented individual! Jerick, as his his female alter-ego Jinkx, can sing, dance, act, and tell jokes, all while wearing high heels and an evening gown.
The “Ah Ha” moment came when Jinkx did a headstand in the hands of an unsuspecting volunteer from the audience, while singing. A star was born!
It’s very exciting to watch a young, talented individual work their way up in show business. Jerick, 25, is a special performer who seems to be on the cusp of superstardom.
The Vaudevillians show is about Kitty Witless (Jinkx Monsoon) and her husband Dr. Dan Von Dandy (Major Scales aka the amazing Richard Andriessen) her co-star and pianist. The premise is that the vaudevillian couple were accidently frozen under an avalanche in the 1920s, but thanks to Global Warming were thawed out only to discover that generations of pop artists had stolen their songs and were passing them off as their own. They set out to correct these wrongs by performing their songs as “originally written.”
The result is hilarious send-ups of a wide variety of songs including Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” performed as an upbeat Charleston; “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” as an ode to the women’s suffrage movement; and jazzy versions of “Fat Bottomed Girls,” Tainted Love,” and “Let Me Clear My Throat.”
The show also features a witty storyline about marital discord between Witless, a self-avowed nymphomaniac, and her closeted husband. The pair exchange pointed barbs and zingers with expert comic timing and flair, culminating in a hip performance of ABBA’s “Take a Chance.” As a team, the couple is smart, sexy, and sassy.
On Drag Race, Jinkx Monsoon won the hearts of fans with her spot-on impersonation of Little Edie Bouvier Beale in the Snatch Game/Match Game challenge. When fellow contestants criticized her because they didn’t know who Little Edie was, Monsoon explained, “Little Edie is a risky character. Not everyone’s going to know who she is. But I think people should know who she is.”
Jinkx carries that same sentiment into The Vaudevillians, with musical shout-outs to Kurt Weill (“Whiskey Bar”), Marie Curie (“Toxic”), and Nora, the heroine of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play A Doll’s House, in a show-stopping rendition of “I Will Survive.”
In her off-Broadway debut, Jinkx Monsoon delivers the amazing performance Drag Race fans suspected she had in her. She’s talented up the ying yang and lovable too.
I went to the show with my daughter Katie, who was a huge fan of Jinkx on Drag Race. Afterwards, we got the chance to meet Jinkx and Major Scales. I refer to them this way because they stayed in character the entire time. The pair couldn’t be more gracious and happily chatted and posed for photos with fans.
Jinkx Monsoon is inherently likeable. Very much looking forward to her next act.
All July performances of The Vaudevillians are sold out. Tickets are still available online for some dates in August. More information and photos of the show can be found in my review of The Vaudevillians on Broadway World.