Drag artist Jinkx Monsoon makes history joining the cast ‘Chicago’


Kevin Dooley I Flickr

Natalie Cardona

Jinkx Monsoon is lighting up Broadway!

Jerick Roman Lamar Hoffer, better known by their stage name, Jinkx Monsoon, makes history as the first drag queen to play Matron “Mama” Morton in the Broadway musical Chicago. The two-time RuPaul’s Drag Race winner made their Broadway debut on Jan. 16.

A lifelong dream for the “internationally tolerated” cabaret icon has finally come true.

Monsoon, who uses singular they pronouns when not in drag, had a momentous year after winning season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and being crowned the “Queen of Queens”. Monsoon then debuted their stand-up tour, premiered a sketch show, released an EP and toured with best friend and fellow drag star, BenDeLaCreme.

Now, the award-winning actress steps into the brightly lit world of Broadway, breaking barriers and following in the footsteps of fellow transgender actors and drag performers.

For the Oregon native, Broadway was always the goal. Monsoon’s involvement with theater from a young age introduced them to drag. They began putting on hair and makeup to play various iconic roles of women they watched on stage.

“I cannot stress enough that this has been a lifelong dream of mine,” Monsoon stated. “To be making my Broadway debut, as my favorite role, in one of my favorite shows—that lifelong dream is coming true and then some.”

Monsoon’s strong connection with the character “Mama” makes their performances more personal. “All That Jazz” has been the star’s go-to drag routine since their early days as a 15-year-old performer. Crediting Chicago and Moulin Rouge as the influences behind their career, their persona takes after the hustler “Mama” Morton character.

Monsoon’s decade-plus-long journey of hard work and passion allowed their to achieve their dreams. They stated their audition was very traditional. After training their voice and stage presence, Monsoon was eventually contacted about the audition.

“The fact that I got my Broadway debut and am fulfilling a mission statement of mine: to show the world that it doesn’t matter the gender identity of the human being playing the character, all that matters is that you get the character,” Monsoon explains how gender-blind casting gave them this opportunity.

Showcasing the character of “Mama” is Monsoon’s number one priority. They explained how they want the audience to enter the world of the musical and forget about their assigned gender when they step on the stage.

“I want them to come away from the show not knowing whether or not I was a drag queen. I want to be doing the character justice enough that they don’t spend any time wondering what’s going on behind the costume.” they said.

Monsoon has exceeded their expectations of playing “Mama”.

The star was met with an abundant amount of support since opening night. Night after night, Monsoon is acknowledged for their talents with long-standing ovations from the audiences. The applause lasts minutes, with them jokingly checking their timepiece as the crowd continues.

Drag Race alumni eagerly bought tickets to the Broadway show to express their support.

RuPaul showed support when asked about Jinkx on Watch What Happens Live, claiming he knew they were a star from the moment they met. “I predict that this is the first of many Broadway roles for Jinkx Monsoon. She’s a genius that kid.”

Monsoon expressed that they hope their role as “Mama” will be the first of many. Some of their other dream roles include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and the Witch in Into the Woods.

The Tony-award-winning revival, Chicago celebrated 26 years on Broadway this past November, making it the second longest-running Broadway show. In recent years, the production saw inclusivity within the cast. Last summer, Angelica Ross became the first openly transgender woman to play the leading lady, Roxie Hart.

Monsoon is excited to hold the torch that has been passed along by Peppermint, a fellow drag sister who was the first transgender woman drag queen performer to work in Broadway productions.

“It feels so special to be in a show that is like taking huge steps in progressive inclusivity in their casting.” Monsoon expresses their gratitude to play a role intended for a cisgender woman.

“I’ve had conversations with the production team about this and how, like, exciting it is not just to be on Broadway, but to be on Broadway in this show. The show that’s making these big swings, and, and it’s putting so much trust in me,” Monsoon stated on being able to depict Mama.

Get your tickets now because it’s Monsoon season and they’re going quickly.