Jinkx Monsoon Talks Spoofing Meryl Streep in ‘Drag Becomes Her’
A drag parody of the cult movie “Death Becomes Her,” the cult classic starring Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn? These are the moments that make life worth living.
Entitled “Drag Becomes Her,” the stage show spoofs the devilishly entertaining 1992 movie, in which the two Hollywood queens hilariously played Beverly Hills rivals who get their hands on an immortality elixir. Presented by Peaches Christ Productions and Matthew Herrmann, the one-night-only show is taking over Hollywood’s Montalban Theatre on April 28. Ticketholders are encouraged to arrive in costume — as a favorite dead celebrity!
TodayTix is running a Lottery for free tickets. Enter now for a chance to win. Winners will be notified three to five hours before the performance.
Jinkx Monsoon — who also won the fifth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — chats with TodayTix about parodying Streep’s Madeline Ashton and what Kristin Chenoweth should know about playing the deadly role on Broadway.
Why has “Death Becomes Her” remained a hit, especially in the drag community?
I think it’s because of how campy and over-the-top these performances are from these really renowned and respected actresses. It’s Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, and Isabella Rossellini acting like drag queens! They’re so obsessed with their vanity, and they’re dying and getting reanimated. All of that really speaks to drag queens. I’ve been wanting to do this parody show with Peaches Christ for years.
This movie has so many memorable fashion moments. What can audiences expect to see in this spoof?
When you do it live onstage, you can only wear so many of the iconic looks. Peaches Christ and the costume designer Amy Salazar worked to zero in on what’s most recognizable from the movie. I wear that turquoise sequined number for the opening song “I See Me,” and I have a big feathered robe for the dressing room scene. And then I just wear black stretch pants with many, many different ‘80s tops.
Because of all those supernatural scenes, “Death Becomes Her” won the Oscar for best visual effects. How does the show deliver that onstage?
We do it all through physical comedy and sound effects, and we sell it pretty damn well. And anything we can’t sell, we just make a joke out of the fact that we can’t. One of my favorite bits is that, since we can’t pull off me falling down a giant spiral staircase, we just go, “Look, she fell down the stairs offstage!” And that’s what I love about drag parodies: There’s no way to ever pull off what you see in the movies, but the way we problem-solve to get around that is the most entertaining part. It’s real theater, but it’s also real drag.
“Death Becomes Her” is currently being adapted into a Broadway-bound musical, starring Kristin Chenoweth as Madeline Ashton. What advice would you give her?
With characters like Madeline Ashton, you gotta give the audience just enough of what they expect. I get really excited right before I say one of her iconic lines; that’s probably the most addictive of doing a drag parody. But as long as you just deliver those one or two lines in the exact way that we’re just gagging to hear, then you can practically rewrite the rest of the part for yourself. Pay a little bit of homage to Streep, and then move on with your life.