Home Doctor Who 2024 - Season 1 PROFILE: Jinkx Monsoon – Doctor Who’s Maestro

PROFILE: Jinkx Monsoon – Doctor Who’s Maestro

Jinkx Monsoon as Maestro in The Devil's Chord ,BBC STUDIOS 2023,James Pardon

As in previous years, Blogtor Who is welcoming a whole new set of guest stars and crew to the world of Doctor Who with a series of profiles to give a sense of what we should expect from them. This week it’s the turn of The Devil’s Chord guest star, Jinkx Monsoon

This weekend Doctor Who returns with an epic double bill of episodes. And the Doctor and Ruby are about to get Jinkxed! The second of the two is The Devil’s Chord, in the which our heroes travel back to the 1960s. There they find the future of music, and the world, under threat from the evil Maestro. Jinkx Monsoon, Broadway star and one of the world’s most famous drag queens, plays the demonic music master. Anyone familiar with Monsoon’s work will already be very excited to see what she brings to the Whoniverse. But for those who haven’t encountered her before, what can they expect?

Monsoon’s been performing on stage since the age of 15, but first rose to prominence in 2011 as a member of the Funny or Die comedy sketch team. In the Monsoon Season series of sketches, she portrayed an overbearing, perpetually addled, mother with shades of Absolutely Fabulous. The similarity is no coincidence. Jennifer Saunders’ Ab Fab character Edina Monsoon is the inspiration for Jinkx’s stage name, after all. The following year she began to make her presence felt as a force in the Seattle musical theatre scene. Early roles included Moritz in Spring Awakening and Angel in Rent.

 

Jinkx Monsoon - Queen of All Queens and the ultimate Drag Race All Stars winner
Jinkx Monsoon – Queen of All Queens and the ultimate Drag Race All Stars winner

Jinkx Monsoon is Drag Race’s all star Queen of All Queens

But it was in 2013 as one of the first breakout stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race that Jinkx Monsoon gained international fame. The competitive reality show steadily narrows down the field of drag queens week by week through various performances. In season five, there was never much doubt Monsoon would be the last queen standing. Her quick wit, spectacular singing voice, and gift for impersonation made her a natural winner.

She made a number of return guest appearances on Drag Race over the years, before returning competitively for 2022’s Drag Race All Stars. She was up against the best that the show’s history had to offer. But Monsoon still ultimately bagged the $200,000 prize and the title “Queen of All Queens.” Of all the performers to get their time to shine thanks to the show, Monsoon’s arguably the only one to threaten RuPaul’s status as the world’s most iconic drag queen.

 

Jinkx Monsoon as Mama Morton in the 2023 Broadway production of Chicago

The documentary film Drag Becomes Him was a compelling portrait of Jinkx’s journey and drag queen life

Jinkx has long been an advocate for her community. For most of her time in the public eye, Monsoon has identified as non-binary in personal life, while, as with most drag queens, using she/her pronouns when performing. As of this year, however, she identifies as trans-femme and has begun gender affirming medical care.

It’s a journey which has been documented by her work. Her 2014 film Drag Becomes Him was an intimate portrait of growing up feeling different and the quest for personal expression, ultimately leading to the world of drag.

 

Jinkx Monsoon as Audrey I, with Corben Bleu as Seymour in the 2024 production of Little Shop of Horrors (c) Evan Zimmerman for Murphy Made

Monsoon has become a Broadway star, with roles as Mama in Chicago and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors

Drag Race was only the start of what everyone predicted would be a successful career. It’s no wonder a recording debut followed just a year later, or that it went by the title Jinkx Monsoon: The Inevitable Album. It was a record as eclectic as Monsoon herself, covering everything from Cole Porter to Radiohead. It was followed by a further four albums and 16 singles.

Music being one of Monsoon’s key passions has been confirmed by her steady rise through the ranks of musical stars. At first, this meant central starring roles in Seattle based productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Hedwig), and Hairspray (Velma Van Tussle). But in recent years New York has beckoned. She’s been Mama Morton in Chicago on Broadway, and is currently starring off Broadway as Audrey I in Little Shop of Horrors. A return run of Chicago follows later this year. (Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and the Witch in Into the Woods remain high on Monsoon’s wish list for the future.)

In parallel, she’s also had a number of roles on TV and film, often playing drag queens on shows like Blue Bloods, and AJ and the Queen and in films like Happiest Season. But Monsoon is also an in-demand voice actor, voicing characters in shows like Steven Universe and Adventure Time.

It’s a road that’s taken Jinkx Monsoon to the Whoniverse and The Devil’s Chord. “I’ve always loved Doctor Who,” she told Variety last year, “It was the one show that my husband and I could agree on.” Her Doctor Who opening night as part of the new magical forces assailing the universe is almost upon us. But the real question is: will the Maestro get an encore performance?

 

The Doctor and Ruby get Jinkxed! Composite: Blogtor Who

Doctor Who returns at 0000 BST on the 11th of May 2024 with a double bill of Space Babies and The Devil’s Chord on iPlayer in the UK, RTÉ Player in Ireland, and on Disney+ everywhere else

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