Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Spotlight On...Tommy Jamerson
Hometown: Portage, Indiana
Education: BS & MFA in Playwriting
Favorite Credits: Being selected to write for the Gender, Hate, & Violence Conference in 2007, the Cher-themed jukebox musical I was asked to draft for the Georgia-based Horizon Theatre Company, and getting to adapt a theatrical Choose Your Own Adventure version of The Wizard of Oz.
Why theater?: Because with theatre you can do anything, say everything, and unlike film, it can change and evolve day-to-day, performance-to-performance, and it’s never the same experience twice.
Tell us about Rags to Bitches: A Battle of Wits & Wigs: On its sparkly surface, Rags tells the tawdry and bawdy story of two long-time drag rivals duking it out backstage at the US Open… Legs Drag Pageant. But “tucked” under the sequins and just beyond the duct tape, there’s also a tale about insecurity, friendship, and learning to admit when you’re wrong. It’s basically an educational show for children, but with female illusionists… and cursing.
What inspired you to write Rags to Bitches: A Battle of Wits & Wigs?: When am I not inspired by drag queens? They’re truly living, breathing works (and werks) of art. But if I had to pinpoint an exact instance, I would say it came while watching the feud between rival queens Coco Montrese and Alyssa Edwards during the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. That was one for the reality TV record books.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: All theatre speaks to me really, but primarily my motto is, the campier the better. As far as my theatrical heroes are concerned, Charles Ludlam and Christopher Durang are my inspirations, mentors, imaginary best friends, and literary crushes (but don’t tell my husband).
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Too many to name, but if I was forced to only pick four: RuPaul, Liza Minnelli, Kristin Chenoweth, and Britney Spears. Now if only I could get all of them in the same room at the same time – that in itself would be one heck of a play! Someone out there, please make it happen!
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Last year’s revival of The Color Purple. I can’t praise or recommend it enough. Truly a gorgeous, sumptuous, life-affirming piece of theatre.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Channing Tatum, hands down. Who wouldn’t want to be played by him? As for a title? "Straight to VHS: Stories from a Gay Writer"
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Bernadette Peters in the 2003 revival of Gypsy. I’ll never forgive myself for missing that one. Thankfully I was able to see her in Follies in 2011.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Honestly I think my life is nothing but guilty pleasures. From my taste in music (bleach blonde pop tarts of the lip-synching variety), to my diet (the “faster” the food, the better), to my taste in movies (all things Lindsay Lohan), to television (Real Housewives of EVERYTHING).
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be… ?: There’s a part of me that’s always wanted to be a dentist. I can’t for the life of me explain why, but it’s always been there, simmering on the backburner.
What’s up next?: A couple things actually. A gay, 80s-tinged fantasy I co-wrote titled Eternal Flame: The Ballad of Jessie Blade is being produced through the AlphaNYC Theatre Company at the Corner Office Theatre in Times Square. I also have a children’s play, Once Upon A Pine: The Many Misadventures of Pinocchio, premiering in April in New Orleans, and this summer my alma mater, Indiana State University, is mounting a production of my play, The Big Bad Bullysaurus.
For more on Tommy, visit tommyjamersonplays.com