Peppermint From ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Reveals What It’s Like To Be the First Openly Trans Woman To Have a Lead Role on Broadway
She made her Broadway debut in the Go-Go’s Musical Head Over Heels in 2018, which made her the “first performer who identifies as a trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway,” according to Playbill.
While the moment was exciting, Peppermint shared that Broadway was always the goal and she had studied and prepared for Broadway leading up to the role.
The experience was fun but challenging
“I was very excited about it,” she remarked on the Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef podcast. “I understood the reverence, but [I also went] to school for acting. So it was a big accomplishment personally, but then also publicly, you know, with the label and the distinction of being the first out trans woman cast to play a lead in a Broadway musical or originator Broadway principal role. It’s a mouthful, but it’s a very nice addition to my resume. Let’s just say that.”
Peppermint said the experience of playing Pythio the Oracle was fun but challenging. “It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I mean, it was very tough to do because just creating the role and going to all of them are the moment in time where you’re rehearsing for eight hours a day and then you have to perform at night. And then they’re changing the lines.”
“Like what you want to do is repetition, so, you know, you feel prepared [with] what you’re going to do tonight,” Peppermint added. “But when they’re like ‘You’re on and whatever you rehearsed is wrong. So just work it out. Here’s the new script.’ Here’s all 200 pages of the new script go on stage right now. Like that’s really stressful. Memorize it and go!”
‘Head over Heels’ was a forward-thinking show
“It was a show that was extremely progressive and very diverse,” Peppermint observed. “And especially when it comes to queerness and body positivity and gender. Let’s just put it this way before 2020 people had a certain approach to a lot of these subjects. I think after 2020 people have a different approach to them. And I think that the musical probably would have been a lot more successful and more, you know, slightly more mainstream had we opened next year versus a year and a half ago.”
“Most of the people who came where at least they came either because they knew the subject matter and they wanted to see that,” she said. “Or if they didn’t know the subject matter, they came for the Go-Go’s music. Which means you know, the Go-Go’s, they were a punk band. They were a rock band, you know, you had to be a little progressive. [So] nope, we didn’t get people that thinking they were going to have a night at the opera, you know?”
She recalled only having one “red hat” in the crowd during her time on stage. “If you know what I mean,” Peppermint said referring to Donald Trump’s slogan hats. “And who walked out halfway through the show, not surprisingly. But otherwise, everybody was good to go.” Peppermint said the audience member who wore the “Make American Great Again” hat might “feel some kind of way if they’re watching a play about a black trans woman and you know, lesbians. So that person left.”