Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLa Creme of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fame are finally back on the road this winter for “The Return of the Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show, LIVE!,” a seasonal extravaganza playing 26 cities in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
And they’re on a mission.
“The real reason that we even got into doing holiday content is really about that balance between celebrating the joy and the camp of the holiday experience, which feels sort of inherently queer, and wanting to take that back at this time when suddenly straight people feel entitled to wear sequin sweaters and burst into song at random — that’s our domain,” said BenDeLaCreme, a standout competitor from the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.”
The duo’s third touring holiday show following 2018’s “To Jesus, Thanks for Everything” and 2019’s “All I Want for Christmas Is Attention,” “The Return of the Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show, LIVE!” launches Nov. 13 with a U.K. leg starting in Liverpool.
Area dates include Dec. 3 and 4 at the Town Hall in New York City, and Dec. 6 at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia.
DeLa and Monsoon will be spreading joy while balancing the sentimental, the silly and the serious on both sides of the Atlantic.
“(We wanted to) really give that joy and that escapism, but to also really hammer home a message of inclusivity for queer people who maybe don’t feel that sense of home around the holidays that we’re kind of inundated with and that sense of family,” said DeLa. “So I think no matter how the details of that message shift (from year to year,) it’s always about acknowledging that the holidays are both joyous and very difficult, and those two things can coexist and we can find unity within all of that.”
It’s an ethos that was spelled out in “New and Gay,” a heartwarming Monsoon-sung ballad from the duo’s filmed 2020 “Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special”: “The childhood festivities we once revered now as adults seem depressing and weird, so next year we’ll find a tradition that’s new and gay.”
“I feel very driven to tell my audience in as many ways as possible: We have been conditioned to believe a lot of things are true and guess what? They’re all lies,” said Monsoon. “You get to decide who you are. You get to decide how you want to present that person to the world. You get to decide what holidays work for you and what rituals and traditions serve a purpose in your life.
“Whether or not society has told us ‘This is how you celebrate this’ or ‘This is how you feel this way,’ we just want to tell our audiences, ‘Hey, you actually have complete agency for yourself to define your life and your rituals and your holidays for yourself.’ ”
Monsoon and DeLa’s show isn’t even the only seasonal drag show touring through our area this winter. Murray and Peter present “A Drag Queen Christmas,” hosted by “All-Stars” Season 4 co-winners Monet X Change and Trinity the Tuck, is crossing the country on a 38-city tour.
“Drag Queen Christmas” plays the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn on Nov. 13, featuring Brooklyn-based “Drag Race” Season 9 winner Sasha Velour and Jan, who grew up in Old Bridge and appeared on “Drag Race” Season 12 and “All Stars” Season 6.
‘Your experiences are shared’
The shuttering of live entertainment in 2020 due to the pandemic forced Monsoon and DeLa to pivot to streaming for the filmed special, available on-demand and on Hulu, and they also appeared in the Hulu original romantic comedy “Happiest Season” last year.
Co-written by DeLa and Monsoon, and directed produced by DeLa under the BenDeLaCreme Presents banner, “The Return of the Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show, LIVE!” puts the pair back in front of audiences.
There will be parodies of popular songs, jokes pulling in elements from the current pop zeitgeist, and a puppet (or maybe more than one, who are we to spoil the fun?) — served up alongside a powerful statement.
“The messages of our shows are consistently that you’re not alone,” said DeLa. “Whatever experience you’re going through around the holidays, around the world we’re living in currently, your experiences are shared.
“There are other people who are going through this, and some of these things are things we’re talking about publicly a lot and some of these things are things that we’re more afraid to talk about. That’s always what we’ve done with … the various traumas we have around the holidays, but right now we’re really called to expand that message while also making sure to jingle bells all the way.”
“The Return of the Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show, LIVE!” plays 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., New York, tickets starting at $45, thetownhall.org. They also play 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Glenside Ave., Glenside, Pa., $35, keswicktheatre.com. For more information, visit jinkxanddela.com.
Alex Biese has been writing about art, entertainment, culture and news on a local and national level for more than 15 years.
Source: Asbury Park