Call Answered: Conference Call with Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales: The Vaudevillians

Call Me Adam chats with The Vaudevillians, Jinkx Monsoon (Season 5 winner of RuPaul's Drag Race) and Major Scales about their upcoming return engagement to The Laurie Beechman Theatre from June 15-22, touring Australia for 3 months, bringing The Vaudevillians to Provincetown's Art House from June 27-September 20, as well as releasing an album, The Inevitable Album, with contribution by The B-52s Fred Schneider. Call Me Adam also chats with Jinkx and Major separately about a few individual projects they have going on. Click here for tickets!

For more on The Vaudevillians be sure to follow them on Facebook and on Twitter @TheMajorScales and @JinkxMonsoon

The Vaudevillians (Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon) at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC1. From June 15-22 you are returning to The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC with a re-vamped Vaudevillians show. What excites you about this upcoming return? 

Jinkx: Every time we go to New York, something new and wonderful happens. The fact that people want us BACK, that is always a surprise. Ha ha.

Major Scales: New York has always been super kind to us. It’ll be nice to make some new Vaudevillians fans out there!

The Vaudevillians (Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon) at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC2. What makes this show different from your previous engagement?

Jinkx: Well, we've been through Australia now, and we found ways here and there to trim the fat from the last iteration from The Vaudevillians. This show is like mine and Majors' baby...so sometimes it's hard to know exactly what to trim from a piece you love so much. But the best way to know what to trim, is to take it to another country and see what jokes don't stand on their own legs. Then you either tweak them or cut them. So I'm excited to show New York our new, Aussie influenced show.

Major Scales: If you thought the last show was frenetic, get ready. We’ve whittled this one down to the best, funniest, sweatiest bits. Plus one or two numbers that will be new to New York eyes…

The Vaudevillians (Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales)3. Your first show of The Vaudevillians, was nominated for a Mac Award for "Show of the Year." What did it mean to you to get this kind of recognition?

Jinkx: To me, it meant validation that the work we're doing is well received, respected, and maybe even, dare I say it, important. Just to be nominated was fuel enough for us to keep finessing these characters and this story. It also lit a fire in us to create MORE. So our plans of one day having a sequel show are now fully in motion.

Major Scales: It’s nice to see that so many people are just crazy enough to follow our little Vaudeville show! For something that started as an in-joke between Jinkx and myself, it’s heartening to get that kind of respect. It’s something that we will have to live up to, and keep bringing our best to.

The Vaudevillians (Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon) on their 2014 Australian Tour4. After you premiered The Vaudevillians in NYC at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, you brought the show to Australia for 3 months. What made you want to bring the show down under and what was that experience like? 

Jinkx: Well, the fact that they wanted us. That was motivation enough to hike up our bootstraps and head down unda'! It was surreal, living in a different country for so long. My season of Drag Race hadn't aired there yet, so we were fairly obscure and working our butts off to fill seats every night. It was a nice, humbling reminder of our roots, back in the days when I used to stand on trash cans and yell at passersby to come "Support Live Art!"

Major Scales: Who wouldn’t want a chance to visit Australia?! It was just different enough to make the whole place seem alien: the trees, the marsupials, the terrifying bird calls! And Australian audiences were great, especially when we could get them to stomp on the floorboards instead of clap.

The Vaudevillians (Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon) 5. What are you looking forward to most about doing this show in Provincetown at The Art House? Click here for tickets!

Jinkx: The community there is so excited about new works and our style of performance, I'm eager to play in front of a whole community that chooses to vacation in Provincetown for the summer, just to take in shows like ours. It's inspiring.

Major Scales: This will be my first time in "P-Town," as the kids call it. I hear it’s a great big gay oasis in the summer, so that could only be fun. PLUS we’ll be sharing the space with people like Megan Mullally, Andrea Martin, and Varla Jean Merman! How can you resist?

The Vaudevillians (Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon)6. How did you and Major Scales first come to work together?

Jinkx: We met in college. Started working on this show for a variety act...at some point decided to move in together, and ever since have been musical/comedy partners. I'm the luckiest queen in the world, because my accompanist, my show partner, my composer, and one of my best friends, are all the same person and he lives down the hall from me.

7. What is the best part about collaborating together?

Jinkx: We both have such weird, obscure, and esoteric senses of humor, that there's really no where we can't go with each other. I remember the first time we decided that "Dr. Dan" had the power to possess "Kitty" with a voodoo melody he learned in the congo...We thought this was one of our most ridiculous, stupidest ideas yet...so it was PERFECT for our show.

Major Scales: The best part of working together is knowing that both of you are willing to go as far down whatever crazy comedy wormhole you end up in as the other, then come out the other side and decide if it’s funny or just crazy. Then use it, either way!

Major ScalesMAJOR SCALES:

You have your own solo show, Major Scales' Minor Breakdown, coming up at The Laurie Beechman Theatre on May 27 & 28. What made you want to do your own show? What can fans expect from your performance? Click here for tickets! I’ve been writing songs for a long time; songs for musicals that I’m still working on, or for one-off projects. And a few of these songs are good enough, or annoyingly catchy enough, that New York deserves to see them. Major Scales’ Minor Breakdown takes those songs and puts them in the boozy, floozy atmosphere of a cabaret show. Expect a lot of self-deprecating humor and flop sweat. I’ll be performing like Tom Lehrer and Ben Folds had a love child and gave him a personality disorder.

JINKX:

You just released your debut album The Inevitable Album, (which Major Scales musically directed and wrote most of the original songs) with a song written Fred Schneider of the B-52's. What was this moment like for you, both to release your album and to have Fred Schneider contribute and record a song with you? Well, I'm still not sure if Fred is fully aware of my early teens B-52's obsession, but it was real, and it has lasted a lifetime. So to be releasing an album, after dreaming about it all my life, was surreal in itself...but to have Mr. "Love Shack Baby!" himself, in the recording studio with us, contributing his own original work to us, made us feel like we had truly arrived where we were always meant to be.

Jinkx MonsoonYou also just made your network drama debut on Blue Bloods. How did this come about and what did you like about being on a drama as opposed to a live show? Well, my heart will always remain in live performance, because there's something you just can't synthesize without having a real, live audience present. That said, I would always do more TV work. It's such a different world and it's so much fun to be a part of the big machine it takes to create an episode of a TV show. I was actually sought out by Donnie Wahlberg after my audition, because he was a fan of Season 5 of Drag Race. He was incredible to work with and made me feel like a star the moment we met on set. I'd definitely play a reoccurring character if they ever ask.

With all you have going on, you are also going to be performing at Life Ball, the worlds largest AIDS benefit. What made you want to be part of this benefit and what do you want to come away with after participating in it? Well, HIV, AIDS, and Safe Sex awareness have always been a part of my platform. I believe that the younger queer generation isn't getting the same kind of sexual education as I got when I was a queer teen. I hope to continue to raise awareness and knowledgeability about preventing the spread of HIV, as well as encouraging sexual responsibility in youths. I hope to take the Life Ball in for the wonderfully amazing party it is, but also come away from it with some valuable life experience.

The Vaudevillians (Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales)More on The Vaudevillians:

Throughout the 1920's Kitty Witless and Dr. Dan Von Dandy toured the United States as THE VAUDEVILLIANS, wowing audiences with their edgy, original music. One day, while touring through Antarctica, they were victims of a devastating avalanche and were buried under two tons of sleet and snow - instantly freezing them alive. But thanks to Global Warming, they recently thawed out only to discover that pop artists had stolen their music and passed it off as their own. Much to their chagrin, songs including "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (which was originally about the Woman's Suffragette Movement), and "Drop it Like it's Hot" (which was originally about the invention of the electric iron) had become hits for lesser artists. Now, at long last, they are taking to the stage to reclaim their songs, performing their music as originally composed.

Major Scales is the evil twin of Richard Andriessen, a musician, writer and performer based in Seattle. He has written everything from award-winning New York shows on the east coast to music for amateur adult films on the west.

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 who has captured the attention of his native northwest region. As early as 2006, Hoffer 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). Last year, Hoffer played "Hedwig" in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (produced by Balagan Theatre and Seattle Theatre Group).

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