This review of Jinkx Monsoon in Jinkx Sings Everything! at The Laurie Beechman Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 6 (2016) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
Jinkx Sings Everything!
Written & Performed by Jinkx Monsoon (Jerick Hoffer)
Musical Director: Joshua Stephen Kartes
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Jinkx Monsoon walked away with the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" on Season 5 of Ru Paul's Drag Race. She claims she was inspired to become a Drag Queen by watching two movies almost on a loop - Chicago (75% of the influence) and Death Become Her (25% of the influence). After appearing on the show, she toured the world for 7-8 months as the reigning Queen of Ru Paul's Drag Race. She was very upbeat regarding her future but now she is turning "jaded and bitter" because every year Ru Paul gives another 13-14 more Drag Queens a career and they then become her "sisters" - a/k/a competition. Jinkx's message to Ru Paul, "Thank you, but enough already!" It's no longer all "fun and frivolity."
Jinkx Sings Everything! was described as being "an entirely improvised show" where Jinkx promised to take requests from the audience. The problem was that, up front, she excluded musicals she did not like, as well as entire genres and decades she would not sing songs from. Just in case the audience didn't get the point, she re-emphasized that she "remains in charge" and is still going "to steer the ship" so she may refuse to sing any song she doesn't like and reserves the right to look at her cell phone if she forgot some lyrics. Given that she kept such a tight grip on the songs she sang, even recommending a number of songs to herself, it is amazing how many lyrics she forgot. Joshua Stephen Kartes, her extremely talented Musical Director (nicknamed "Wolf" because he looks like a little hairy dog who plays piano energetically), had trouble remaining in sync with Jinkx. The biggest problem, however, was with Jinkx's voice, which was often off-key. To her credit, Jinkx noticed this herself on at least three occasions during the show. She first said, "I am hitting the notes but there is this layer of sick that's just there." She later commented, "Something has built up in the back of my throat." Finally, she said, "It's hard when you are not lip syncing." To clear out her throat, Jinkx started downing alcoholic drinks offered to her by audience members, observing, "sure, why not mix drinks - let's see where the show goes now!" Her funniest line was a spontaneous one enabled by her quick wit. After drinking all those alcoholic beverages, she tripped over a chair on the way back to the stage. Her response, "I just tripped over an empty chair in my "sold out" show!"
Some of the songs she sang were "Broadway Baby", "All That Jazz", "White Rabbit", "Miss Baltimore Crabs", "Don't Do Sadness", "I'm Still Here", "The Worst Pies In London", "Maybe This Time", and "Origin Of Love". A number of the songs she sang were extremely entertaining. I truly enjoyed her rendition of "I'm Still Here" and her Cabaret medley. In addition, Jinkx Monsoon is a consummate performer and an extraordinary showman with a good sense of humor and a keen sense of how to interact with the audience to keep them engaged. She also knows how to recover from an embarrassing situation in order to turn it into something positive and entertaining. For example, embarrassed she had to look up song lyrics on her cell phone, she exclaimed that someone had sent "dick pics" to her phone. She also had a hilarious bit where she brought a seven-year-old boy on stage, who wanted her to sing "My Heart Belongs To Daddy." She complied, observing, "I remember being a size zero, you little bitch!" Jinkx Monsoon knows how to make people laugh. She performed in a very attractive short black dress and wore a red wig - both were simple, yet elegant!
Jinkx Monsoon is the alter ego of Jerick Hoffer, who graduated with a degree in theatrical performance from Cornish College in Seattle. With ten years experience on stage, Hoffer is a seasoned Portland-born entertainer. As early as 2006, he appeared as the lead dancer in the world's largest Drag Queen Chorus Line, which made the Guinness Book Of World Records. By 2012, he had advanced to roles in Seattle theaters, playing Moritz in Spring Awakening (produced by Balagan Theatre) and Angel in Rent (produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre). Earlier this year, Hoffer played Hedwig in Hedwig & The Angry Inch (produced by Balagan Theatre and Seattle Theatre Group). For more information on Jinkx Monsoon, visit her website at http://www.jinkxmonsoon.com/