Ever since she slayed as one of the top four in the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Peppermint has taken the world by storm!
The New York City-based queen went on to record numerous albums and made her Broadway debut in Head Over Heels in 2018, which crowned her the first openly trans woman to originate a lead role on Broadway.
Now, Peppermint is preparing to step into a brand new role: A Transparent Musical. The musical comedy opens May 20 and runs through June 25, at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in downtown Los Angeles. Based on the Amazon Prime series, Transparent, by MJ Kaufman and Joey Soloway, A Transparent Musical will feature music and lyrics by Faith Soloway.
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“I’m super stoked to be doing this,” admits Peppermint. “Obviously, I was a huge fan of the TV show and for those who remember the TV show, then you’ll definitely like A Transparent Musical.”
“We deal with a lot of the same issues,” Peppermint added. “It’s really about coming into your own and understanding the connection between your history, your family’s history, and today — which I think is really important because as we’re seeing all these anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-drag attacks across the country — it reminds me that this is not new.” Peppermint goes on to add that anti-LGBTQ group have, “been doing these same old tricks for years and we saw this in the eighties; we saw this against the gay community when it was when they were protesting and trying to basically outlaw marriage equality. We’ve seen it at so many different stages throughout humanity when marginalized groups are trying to fight for their rights.”
Peppermint says that the new musical will be a complete reimagining of the story. “It almost feels like the cousin to the TV show,” she explains. The musical will follow Ali Pfefferman (Adina Verson, Only Murders in the Building) as they navigate the ups and downs of self-discovery. Ali’s Los Angeles Jewish family is filled with secrets, but when their parent, Maura (Daya Curley), transitions to the transgender matriarch she always knew she was, the family is forced to confront their own identities and navigate their relationships with each other. The cast also includes Liz Larsen as Shelley Pfefferman; Zachary Prince as Josh Pfefferman; Sarah Stiles as Sarah Pfefferman; Kasper as Ezra; Murphy Taylor Smith as Rabbi Raquel as well as Samora la Perdida, Justin Rivers, Futaba Shioda, Natalie Weiss, Robert Pieranunzi, and Jimmy Ray.
Peppermint will star as Divina, a role originated by Alexandra Billings in the series, who she hopes will be at opening night so she can receive her blessing. “Hopefully she’ll be able to come and see it,” she said. “The original creators of the TV series, Joey and Faith Soloway are the creators of this show and so we have the blessing of the people who wrote the character of Divina and…I feel really great and I know that Alexandra would be proud.”
“A Transparent Musical is a different version of that kind of story and I’m hopeful that people will enjoy it,” she added
If that wasn’t enough, Peppermint is simultaneously tackling an entirely new form of entertainment altogether: stand-up comedy.
Her first comedy special SO-SIGH-ETY Effects, which is currently available to rent or buy, follows her journey through New York City as the audience gets a first-hand look at what it’s like to be a single black transgender woman in today’s society. “We just have to find the humor in the challenges that we face,” Peppermint told GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos in regard to her new special. “As a drag entertainer, I’ve always used comedy as a part of my performance, a part of my performance but this time around, I’m actually excited to have been able to be given a platform together with Comedy Dynamics. They approached me and said, ‘Do you want to do a comedy special?’ and I was like, ‘Wait, do you mean me? I’m certainly not new to the world of comedy. I’m not new to telling jokes on stage and being on a microphone and talking to an audience. All those things are things I utilize in my performance but when the show is only stand-up comedy, I was a little bit nervous, to say the least.”
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And in a time when stand-up comedy has been an epicenter for cancel culture and insensitive trans and queer jokes are thrown around by cisgender, hetero people, Peppermint hopes to change this, but she realizes that comedy is subjective. She even thinks that there may be some in the trans community who might think her comedy special is terrible.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t know someone personally who’s trans,” she points out. “The world that we’re in today people are connecting online and through entertainment — that’s where most people get their information about who we are and the things that we go through as queer people.” She continues to say that there are so many stand-up comics telling trans jokes that invite the trans community into the conversation, but these jokes are often harmful to the community and most of all, not funny.
“If a cisgender comic can tell a bad joke about trans people, then a trans person can also maybe tell a questionable joke…and so [I want to] show that there are stories to be told and the subject of trans can be funny because it’s related to life and humanity. Humanity is funny.”
Looking ahead, Peppermint will also appear in the upcoming Netflix comedy series, Survival of the Thickest, based on the titular book by comedian and actress, Michelle Buteau.
Tickets to A Transparent Musical are available from May 20th – June 25th!