Metro Weekly

Jinkx Monsoon is Single-Handedly Reviving Chicago on Broadway

The drag star, who plays the role of Matron "Mama" Morton, has been attracting crowds of enthusiastic fans to the long-running hit.

Jinkx Monsoon -- Photo via Instagram
Jinkx Monsoon — Photo via Instagram

Since she joined the cast of Chicago on Broadway, Jinkx Monsoon, the two-time winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, has been helping the production sell tickets and perform better than it has in some time.

The performer, who plays the role of Matron “Mama” Morton, has been attracting crowds of enthusiastic fans who stand outside the stage door after her show to take photos, get autographs, and hand her flowers.

The musical played to standing-room-only audiences last week, and the box office has seen a significant uptick with Monsoon on stage.

The popular revival has been running for a long time, and Monsoon’s arrival has breathed new life into the production.

It recently filled an impressive 100.51% of seats at the Ambassador Theatre, making it the top performer of the week in terms of capacity percentage, according to Playbill. The show also brought in a respectable $797,240.18 at the box office, proving that Jinkx is good for Broadway.

Monsoon joined the cast for a limited run that began on January 16 and will continue through March 12.

It’s not the first time the Chicago production has included queer-inclusive and limited-run casting, such as when Angelica Ross played the role of Roxie Hart last year.

But Monsoon’s performance has exceeded all expectations, and her success could pave the way for more Drag Race stars on Broadway.

The superstar, who uses she/her pronouns when in drag and they/them when not in drag, is known for her comedic timing, impressive vocal range, and fierce characterizations. She has received critical acclaim for her work in theater in the past, and her resume is long and storied.

Monsoon may be new to Broadway, but she is certainly not new to the world of live performances or theater. She has appeared in a variety of theatrical productions, including Henry V, Rent, Spring Awakening, Hairspray, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

In addition to her work in traditional theater, Monsoon is also known for her holiday-themed live shows, which she performs alongside her friend and former Drag Race contestant, BenDeLaCreme. The pair recently completed a nationwide tour of their show in December 2022.

Jinkx Monsoon -- Photo via Instagram
Jinkx Monsoon — Photo via Instagram

In mid-2022, Monsoon returned to the franchise that made her a star to compete in season seven of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. This particular season was composed entirely of former winners, and Monsoon quickly stood out as a contestant to watch.

She demonstrated her incredible talent and versatility by winning multiple episodes, including the iconic Snatch Game, where she impressed the judges and the audience alike with her stunning portrayal of Judy Garland. She ultimately earned the crown and the title of Queen of all Queens, as well as a sizable cash prize.

Chicago has been running on Broadway for more than 25 years, and despite its long run, the show continues to attract tourists who are drawn to more recognizable productions. The show regularly employs a technique called “stunt casting,” where celebrities who may not have any prior experience in theater are hired to bring attention to the show and increase ticket sales.

In 2022, Pamela Anderson was added to the cast for several weeks. While Anderson may not have had prior experience in musical theater, her appearance undoubtedly helped draw a larger audience to the show.

Stunt casting can be a successful strategy for boosting ticket sales, but it can also be a controversial one, as some argue it diminishes the artistry of the performers who have worked for years to perfect their craft. Thankfully, Monsoon is the perfect person to bring on board, as she is both talented and popular enough to help the production’s box office numbers.

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