Metro Weekly

Santa, Baby: GMCW’s Rewrapped holiday show

Jerry Lee has turned playing Santa into an annual career

GMCW – Photo: Julian Vankim

“When we need Santa, I get a phone call,” says Jerry Lee.

Since first donning St. Nick’s suit nearly two decades ago, the calls have come in almost every year. First performing as part of a Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington holiday show in the ’90s, Lee has now diversified his venues for spreading merriment.

“Why me?” was his initial response when asked to play Santa. Standing six feet and six inches high, he was told that having a taller Santa made the elves with whom he appeared on stage “more elegant.” Once the suit was made, there weren’t many people up to filling it, and so Lee’s role as Santa was set — particularly after a friend on Capitol Hill asked him to be Santa at a Christmas party.

Even with a custom-made suit, becoming Santa is no easy feat. To complete his transformation, Lee adds a wig, a beard, a hat, and a large amount of rubber padding, though, as he observes, he “needs less padding every year.”

What of Santa’s inevitable duties, though? Not all children — or their parents — are equal, it seems. “One time, I had a very tech savvy 7-year-old who asked for a very specific ipad with accessories,” Lee recalls. “I looked at his parents for a sign as to yes or no, but they just stared.

“Most parents wink and nod,” he continues. “Some look panicked, ‘No, she can’t get a dog!’ So I’ll say something like, ‘I don’t know if I can get a dog on my sleigh.'”

At this year’s GMCW show, Rewrapped, Lee is performing a parody of Adele’s “Hello” entitled “Ho Ho,” as well as appearing in the finale, “Christmas on Broadway.” This year is actually the most Santa-heavy GMCW show Lee has performed, but he’s excited and happy to see everyone who comes out for the performance. “After the show I’ll be in the lobby to meet people and take pictures,” he says.

However, Lee will be happy to avoid a repeat of perhaps his most nerve-racking moment as Santa when a young girl, asked what she wanted for Christmas, “stared incredulously and said, ‘Didn’t you get my letter?'”

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performs Rewrapped on Saturday Dec. 12, at 8 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St NW. Tickets are $25 to $63. Call 202-293-1548 or visit gmcw.org.

[ninja-inline id=73197]

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly's

LGBTQ Journalism

For as Little as $1.15 a Week

Like What You're Reading?

Get Metro Weekly's Daily Email