BWW Interview: Co-Directors Josh Rhodes and Lee Wilkins Talk DIVAS FOR DEMOCRACY: UNITED WE SLAY
The virtual event features the divas of Broadway and Drag coming together in a spectacular variety show to encourage participation in our democracy.
On Sunday, October 18th at 8pm EST, The luminous divas of Broadway and Drag will come together in a spectacular virtual event to help promote voter participation, and increase voter awareness of issues concerning the LGBTQIA+ community and the 2020 election, while treating viewers to epic Broadway belting, iconic lip syncs, and special segments featuring LGBTQIA+ activists.
Divas For Democracy: United We Slay, will be hosted by Entertainment Tonight's Keltie Knight and RuPaul's Drag Race's Nina West, and feature Broadway divas including: Stephanie J. Block, Lea Salonga, Nikki M. James, Beth Leavel, Annaleigh Ashford, Shoshana Bean, Eden Espinosa, Jenn Collela, Chilina Kennedy, Keala Settle, Tamika Lawrence, L Morgan Lee, Chita Rivera, and Drag superstars: Jinkx Monsoon, Jujubee, Valentina, Peppermint, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, Shuga Cain, Honey Davenport, Brita Filter, Marti Gould Cummings, and Pixie Aventura.
With even more appearances to be made by Tony winners, Grammy winners, and LGBTQ elected officials, this is a virtual event that is not to be missed.
Divas For Democracy: United We Slay is co-directed by Josh Rhodes and Lee Wilkins, who served together as choreographer and associate choreographer, respectively, on It Shoulda Been You, First Date, Broadway for Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Bright Star.
We spoke with Rhodes and Wilkins about how Divas For Democracy came together, what viewers can do to outside of voting to participate in our democracy, and more!
Tickets for Divas for Democracy: United We Slay are "donate what you can" with a minimum $5 donation, and can be purchased here: divasfordemocracy.com. All proceeds will benefit Drag Out The Vote's get-out-the-vote efforts.
How did you both get involved with Drag Out The Vote? Talk to me about how the idea for Divas For Democracy: United We Slay came about.
The show was looking for a partner that could help us reach the Broadway audience we know and love so well, but also reach other audiences across the country that we didn't know how to reach. We went to Drag Out the Vote and they were so excited to blend the two audiences together for one common goal of voter engagement. It was a beautiful match.
The idea came about because of Jeff Metzler. We have known Jeff for years because of our years of directing Broadway Bares. We knew Jeff from making him take his clothes off for BC/EFA, and we have remained good friends. He had this crazy idea to make an evening that brings Broadway talent together with Drag superstars. He called us and said, " I want you to bring the same cheeky fun you brought to Broadway Bares, to this event." We were excited by the concept and signed on immediately.
The event is star-studded, how did this incredible lineup of Drag and Broadway stars get put together?
You don't get Divas without killer casting directors. We had the incredible Justin Bohon and Ryan Tymensky. It was really unique to anything we have done before because we needed to merge two worlds together. Justin Bohon worked tirelessly to get the Broadway Divas and Ryan worked like mad to get us the Drag stars. It's was an incredible collaboration with our casting directors and Stephen Oremus, our Music supervisor, to find the talent and find the best music to feature the best of each diva.
What can viewers expect from this virtual event, and why is it so important at this moment in time?
Our hope is that we all have some fun together. It's like a musical theater happy hour at a gay bar and a political convention hooked up and had a love child. We hope people can mix their favorite drink and sit back and be entertained. And perhaps they will be reminded that they are an important part of a beautiful cross section of America. LGBTQIA+ community and the allies are a glorious part of this country and they all need to have their voices heard. Election season is brutal, and the rhetoric and the anxiety can be draining. We want to pump up people's excitement to be a part of democracy. Our greatest hope is that the people feel a part of a joyful battle cry to raise our voice together for the good of the country.
What can viewers, and really anybody out there, do to participate in democracy other than voting?
REACH OUT. Is everyone in your circle of friends voting? Does everyone have access to the polls? Does everyone around you have transportation, babysitting, a plan, knowledge of what's on the ballot? Too many people want to sit out on federal and local elections. Don't let that happen.
How does it feel to be taking such an active part in promoting participation in democracy through this event this close to the election?
It feels great be active during this election. We can't sit back and do nothing when 1 out of 5 of our LGBTQIA+ family are not even registered. It's crazy that all of our community is not part of our democratic process. This crazy union of Broadway and Drag is a delightful way to entertain people right to the polls.
What else would you like to share with people out there who will be watching Divas For Democracy: United We Slay?
Over 300 artists gave their time, skills, and passion to making "DIVAS FOR DEMOCRACY- United We Slay." Nobody was paid for their time. It speaks volumes to the big and beautiful hearts of our theater and Drag community. We are a passionate group of crazy artists and this shows we will all march together to fight for a better democracy.
For more information on Divas For Democracy: United We Slay, CLICK HERE!
From This Author Chloe Rabinowitz
Chloe Rabinowitz is a Philly native with a lifelong passion for writing and theater in equal measure. Chloe has been a published theater critic and
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