Friday, January 13, 2012

Some Advance Shameless Self Promotion

So Scary

Uncle P rarely posts posts pictures of himself on Caliban's Revenge. The poor quality photo on your left was taken in the dressing room just before curtain on opening night of the JTMF production of Torch Song Trilogy in June of 2004. Uncle P is on the right and my sweet friend Bruce is on the left. Normally, Bruce is only a few inches shorter than me, but put me in 4" heels and I am a giant(ess).

Audiences will once again have the chance to see Uncle P in drag this coming spring as Edna Turnblad in the musical "Hairspray," April 13 - 22 at the Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. The JTMF is collaborating with the college's Dance & Theatre and Entertainment Technology programs on our first musical production as part of our 10th Anniversary celebration. And I will be performing in a musical for the first time in almost 10 years.

Unlike Torch Song... I will not be playing a drag queen, but rather a character who is actually a woman. Last summer, I cast a gorgeous, straight and very masculine actor as a women in the JTMF production of Die Mommie Die!. Like Edna, Angela Arden is traditionally played by a man. David has some rather amazing bone structure and after make-up, looked pretty good. I, on the other hand, look like my mother's brother in a dress. Still, I am excited to be playing the part. But I have to wonder how I will compare to those who came before me. 

Unlike Divine, who created the role in the 1988 semi-musical John Waters' film, I am not a traditional drag performer. Like John Travolta, I have a history of appearing in musicals. Unlike Harvey Fierstein, I am a singer. Like Harvey Fierstein, I have on occasion appeared in drag. Like Divine and Fierstein (and according to rumor, Travolta), I am gay. Unlike John Travolta, I am not a terrific dancer. Like all three of them I am about to play a woman's role which by tradition is always played by a man. 

And... Shhhhh... I am terrified. Honestly, I don't remember being so scared by a role since playing Sweeney in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. Oh, I know I'll be fine. But still, Edna is one of those iconic roles that comes with some massive audience expectations. I am also the only actor to have been pre-cast in the production, which adds an extra psychological burden. I am expected to be not just good, but amazing.


I'm sure that once rehearsals start (January 30th) and I get back into the swing of doing a musical, I will be fine. And I may just be putting extra pressure on myself because I know so many of my friends and Day-Job co-workers are already anticipating seeing the show (many have already bought tickets). Still, I hope I'm up to it. My knees aren't what they used to be, even back when I could fake it as a dancer. And I haven't sung in public since 2003. And I am by no means the star the of show - that title goes to the lucky auditioner who lands the role of Tracy Turnblad. And I have already heard from several talented friends who have expressed interest in auditioning for some of the show's other supporting roles, which would set my mind at immeasurable ease, were they to be cast (personally, I'm pulling for my Dear D as Corny Collins).

If you are in the Central New Jersey area and should be so inclined to support a wonderful cause, I suggest you order your tickets in advance. Musicals at the Kelsey tend to sell out rather quickly and despite my presence in the show, Hairspray is not likely to be an exception. And if you should attend, please stick around after curtain call and say "Hi." I may take a few minutes to 'de-feminize' myself, but I promise to make myself available to those who want visit after the show.

Of course, don't think that by any means that this is the last time I'll be writing about this show. Once a Theatre Whore, always a Theatre Whore. I'll remind you at least three or four (or more) times as Opening Night approaches.

And if you miss Hairspray, you will still have a chance to see me reprise my role as Sterling in the Official JTMF 10th Anniversary production of Paul Rudnick's Jeffrey, in June.

More, anon.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I am so pleased & excited for you. The role is now iconic & I just know you will shine!