Call Answered: Jackie Cox: "I Dream of Jackie" + "The Hell's Kitchenettes" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Growing up I loved watching reruns of I Dreamed of Jeanie. Who didn’t want to be Barbara Eden coming out of that bottle? I also adore Blake McIver, who directed and choreographed Jackie Cox’s first two I Dream of Jackie shows. So, when the opportunity arose to interview Jackie Cox, I folded my arms and blinked.
Jackie has a VERY busy Christmas coming up…she has three shows happening at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street): The Hell's Kitchenettes, The Hell's Kitchenettes Christmas & I Dream of Jackie 3: Jackie's Winter Wish.
The Hell’s Kitchenettes: The story of three diner girls with a song in their heart and a tune in their tuna melts. It stars returning Beechman favorites Jackie Cox (I Dream of Jackie, Make America Gay Again) as sweet “Mabel Syrup,” James Mills (Paige Turner's Christmas Carol) as stacked “Pam Cakes,” and veteran character actor Michael LaMasa as hot “Bette Griddler,” the leader of the troupe. When calamity strikes the Loose Caboose diner, the Hell's Kitchenettes band together to save the joint and put on a hell of a show at the same time!
The Hell’s Kitchenettes Christmas: In their all new show, Christmas at The Loose Caboose those three hot dishes, The Hell’s Kitchenettes, have just one night to transform the Loose Caboose Diner into the perfect setting for a Christmas spectacular! However, all of their plans get thrown out the window when a warm front moves up the East Coast bringing with it the hottest Christmas the Big Apple has seen in decades. It’ll take the smarts of Bette Griddler, the sweet Canadian disposition of Mabel Syrup, and an extra special Christmas wish from Pam Cakes to turn a not-so-white Christmas into a winter wonderland!
I Dream of Jackie 3: Jackie's Winter Wish: An outrageous comedy spectacular featuring Jackie's signature blend of musical theater, and hit pop songs -- plus some of your holiday favorites. In this final chapter, we follow Jackie on a fantastical Magic Carpet ride from the streets of Hell's Kitchen to the great snowy north. But when evil twin sister, Jacqueline, shows up to earn her spot on the naughty list, will Jackie have what it takes to make it to the North Pole- and to the end of this cabaret trilogy? Luckily, this time she has the help of a new sidekick, her "Twink on the Brink" (Christopher Sanders) and an encounter with a larger than life, bold and brassy mermaid! (Vicky Boofant). And don't worry, her handsome harem boys (Drew Bloom, Adam Sarette, and Blake McIver) will make special cameo appearances! Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion to the I Dream of Jackie saga!
The Hell’s Kitchenettes plays Friday, November 25 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!
The Hell’s Kitchenettes Christmas plays Friday, November 30 & Saturday, December 1 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!
I Dream of Jackie 3: Jackie’s Winter Wish plays Wednesday, December 19 & Thursday, December 20 at 9:30pm. Click here for tickets!
1. Since this is our first interview together, let's go back to the beginning for a moment. How did you come up with Jackie Cox & The Hell's Kitchenettes? Well Jackie Cox is a character I came up with in college along with my best friend Blake McIver, you may have seen him in a I Dream of Jackie 1 and 2 which he Directed and Choreographed! Some queens say they have a "drag mother" but since Blake is not a queen himself, I consider him my Drag Father!
The Hell's Kitchenettes is an idea for a group that Michael LaMasa, James Mills, and I came up with quite a few years ago. We thought, wouldn't it be fun to have three diner waitress characters who sing in harmony and put on shows in what we call "Diner Theater." In the group, I play "Mabel Syrup" the sexy one, James Mills plays "Pam Cakes" the dippy one, and Mikey LaMasa is "Bette Griddler" the leader of our troupe. It took us a long time to finally get the show together, but the stars aligned earlier this year and we finally got to debut this concept at the Laurie Beechman with our original show, The Hell's Kitchenettes!
2. This holiday season you have three shows happening: The Hell's Kitchenettes, The Hell's Kitchenettes Christmas & I Dream of Jackie 3: Jackie's Winter Wish. What are you looking forward to most about performing these shows? Oh my goodness! I'm mostly looking forward to bringing joy to our audiences through these stories, I try to make sure that each of my shows feels different from the last, but still gives you that "feel-good" feeling so many of us crave during the holidays!
I'll also tell you what I'm not looking forward to...managing the different costumes, props, and wigs for three different shows all out of a tiny Hell's Kitchen apartment! Luckily James Mills is our props master for both Kitchenettes shows - and boy you are going to have to wait and see what he's created. Let's just say you'll never look at a toilet seat the same way again!
3. Let's start with The Hell's Kitchenettes. What will you be serving up during this show? This is our original show, which we debuted last spring and serves as a great introduction to these characters and their stories, you'll hear classic "Andrews Sisters" songs but also new harmonic takes on modern pop hits! At the heart of our show is the friendship of these three characters, they may not always see eye to eye, but there's so much love that shines through. I must credit our brilliant author Michael LaMasa for that!
4. Since The Hell's Kitchenettes is based on diner girls...what's your favorite milkshake to have? Strawberry milkshakes are my absolute fave! With extra whipped cream and a cherry on top please!
5. Now, let's move to The Hell's Kitchenettes Christmas. In this show, the girls have just one night to transform the Loose Caboose Diner into the perfect setting for a Christmas spectacular, but things don't go as planned when a heat wave comes up the East Coast. When has there been a time your Christmas plans went awry? Oof well I must say, I used to travel a lot to see my family over Christmas and boy those airports sure are crazy! These days I usually stay in town for the holidays, I can always visit family when the airports aren't a mess...and the fares are cheaper!
6. What do you consider the perfect Christmas Spectacular? I think what makes the best Christmas Spectacular is turning what should be the saddest time of the year, when the nights are so long and so cold, into a joyous celebration of love and generosity. When you get that warm cozy feeling after leaving a show, that's the most important thing! The lights and costumes and songs and dancing should all be in service to leaving the audience feeling like they have more warmth back in their lives to take home with them!
Oh, and also reindeer...a good Christmas Spectacular should have reindeer, ours certainly does! (Though I won't tell you quite how!)
7. We have to chat I Dream of Jackie 3: Jackie's Winter Wish. This show is the end of your I Dream of Jackie trilogy. What made this story be the one to wrap everything together? The I Dream of Jackie series has been such a fun and fabulous journey for me, prior to the first show I had never really explored any of my Persian heritage with my drag. But, after the election of a certain orange oaf who shall not be named, and his racist and blatant Islamophobia, I felt this was a chance to bring more of my Middle Eastern roots to life in a way that felt true to who I think “Jackie” has always been. I see myself through her as full of optimism, hope, but not afraid to face things that scare her.
With the sequel, I Dream of Jackie 2: Jackie's Nightmare I didn't realize how much my audience would love seeing me play the opposite of that with the comical evil twin sister villain, “Jacqueline.” So when the time came for a holiday show of my own, I thought it would be great to bring the two sisters together in a way you hadn't seen them before in either show. And why end the series here? Well, 3 wishes? 3 shows? It has sort of a poetry to it! But who knows! This may not be the very last you see of “Jackie the Genie!”
8. Jackie's Winter Wish follows “Jackie'“ on a fantastical Magic Carpet ride from the streets of Hell's Kitchen to the great snowy north. But when evil twin sister, “Jacqueline,” shows up to earn her spot on the naughty list, will “Jackie” have what it takes to make it to the North Pole - and to the end of this cabaret trilogy? Who is someone you've had to challenge, but beat out? There is certainly a big broad drag community in NYC, and some would say it can be very competitive.
Beyond a few drag competitions, some I've won, many I've lost, I don't really think of myself as a competitive person. I really think each person should have the chance to shine as the best version of themselves, that's the real competition - how do I consistently be the best version of me that I can be?
9. What is your Christmas wish this year? A storage unit! Kidding...to be honest a functioning Democratic government (both big D Democrat and little d democratic) would be the best wish come true of all!
10. What are your top three favorite things to do in NYC during the holiday season? Well firstly, I LOVE seeing all the cabaret shows put on by my friends and other queens in the city! Second, you gotta see the Rockettes! And third, I know this is cheesy, but I love the holiday window displays at all the fabulous department stores!
More on Jackie Cox:
Jackie Cox is best known to Laurie Beechman audiences as the lovable genie from her hit 2017 Glam Award nominated show I Dream of Jackie and its sequel Jackie's Nightmare as well as from her numerous collaborations with NYC Drag Star Paige Turner (You Don't Own Me, Paige Turner's Christmas Carol, Easter Eggstravaganza, Make America Gay Again). She initially burst onto the NYC drag scene in 2010 as 1st Runner-Up in the first season of New World Stages So You Think You Can Drag? competition and went on to win the 8th and final season as a returning All-Star. She has headlined her own shows off-Broadway in NYC (Jackie Cox: Westward Ho and Just Jackie! at New World Stages) and beyond (Jackie Cox: I had it in me! at the Theatre Out in Orange County, CA, Chelsea Piers: Gypsies at the Crown and Anchor of Provincetown, MA). Recently, Jackie appeared on TV in ABC's What Would You Do? alongside Rupaul's Drag Race star Monét X Change, in Fusion's Shade: Queens of NYC, and numerous appearances on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, winning the title of Real Queen of Beverly Hills for her impersonation of TV personality and Depends undergarment spokeswoman, Lisa Rinna.