John Cameron Mitchell is a writer, director and actor that we’ve seen on stages and screens from infamous New York City night clubs, Broadway theatres, HBO and Sundance Film Festival.
He is the co-creator of the cult musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Celebrating 20 years in 2018, Hedwig started out as a drag show at New York City club SqueezeBox, located in the far west of the Village in the mid-90s, in a time when there were still small pockets of Manhattan not yet shiny and gentrified.
Hedwig grew into an off-Broadway hit and eventually a film co-written, directed and starring Mitchell, earning him Best Director at Sundance Film Festival and a Golden Globes nomination. In 2015, he received a special Tony Award after reprising the role on Broadway.
What's the maddest thing you have ever done?
Written my new podcast which talks very honestly about my family, my dad’s closeted sexuality, my mum’s victimhood, my lover’s death. I don’t know why I’m dragging it all out. Well, it’s the writer’s eventual destination. Memoir. Perhaps some healing is coming.
What's the maddest thing about Hedwig?
That something so damn queer has infiltrated uptight (but gorgeous) cultures like Korea and Japan. I’ve actually been chased down the street by gangs of fans in Korea.
If your life was a performance, what genre would it be?
I hate genres. They were invented by marketers. Life is a comic, tragic, romantic, melodramatic, mysterious, farcical, porn film.
What are your rituals before you go on stage?
20 minute meditation, vocal warm up, brown rice salmon sushi, kissing my stagemates. Oh, and the ‘show dump’. Must clear the passages.
What does being a performer mean to you?
I’m a very premeditated, slow-moving, tortoise-like Taurean writer. Performing reminds me I have a sensual body and allows me to be spontaneous and instinctual. And reminds me I’m not alone. But in a safe way, as I’m on stage!
Image Credit: Matthew Placek
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