Prom Kween is a musical comedy by Rebecca Humphries about a young boy vying for the title of prom queen at his high school – and the bitches who tried to stand in his way. The show is coming to The VAULT Festival as a work in progress. If you like clowning, stand-up and song then this is the show for you! Our editor Kate Stone spoke to Rebecca about Prom Kween, the high school film genre, RuPaul and learning to love yourself. Because if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?
Kate Stone: What is the inspiration behind Prom Kween?
Rebecca Humphries: Prom Kween tells the story of Matthew – the first boy to win the title. Around July last year, the story came up on my Facebook newsfeed, I think it was from Teen Vogue (a pop up that probably came as a result of my googling what Taylor Swift is up to every 20 minutes) and I was instantly struck by it.
KS: What made you decide to go down the musical route for Prom Kween?
RH: Two reasons really. The first is pretty basic – I’ve already performed a solo musical comedy show (Dizney Rascal) for which I won the musical comedy award in 2015. And the second is that I am a musical theatre obsessive. And always have been. I grew up with Grease, Annie, Calamity Jane, Oliver, Mary Poppins. And very few friends.
KS: Prom Kween is also an homage to the American high school genre. Is this in a bid to show LGBTQ teens as the main character instead of just the supporting cast or best friend?
RH: To be honest the character came first, the genre came second. But sure, I’ll go with that! Other than actually, for me it wasn’t an LGBTQ thing. It was a kid that felt different, that didn’t fit in. That’s what initially spoke to me. I wanted to learn more about THAT kid. And not in a ‘a hot dude takes his glasses off and he was gorgeous all along way’. In a way that sees him discover himself.
KS: Do you think the increasing popularity of drag in the mainstream is a response to the heightened conservatism in America or vice versa?
RH: Well, I’m no insider, but from where I’m sitting it would seem Drag wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a norm to subvert. So, the short is answer is yes, I do think it’s a response to conservatism. But you know what I really think? I think the popularity of drag has to do with how extreme the world is becoming. The Drag community thrives on extremism – in its aesthetic, in its culture. The world is catching up! And people’s tastes are becoming more and more radical, both liberally and traditionally. Everything is polarised. Shows like Drag Race are saying ‘fuck it, this is what I am, if you don’t like it suit yourself’ and people love that.
KS: The blurb for the show says RuPaul is coming… is RuPaul coming?!
RH: RuPaul is, for me, omnipresent. But that’s not the question is it? RuPaul will feature.
KS: Usually we ask who your favourite funny women are here, but let’s go non-binary and ask who your favourite funny people are…
RH: My boyfriend, all of my lovely friends (especially ones I rope in to being in my musicals), Kristin Wiig, Carol Burnett in Annie, Armando Iannucci, and the cast of Wild Honey which I’ve recently finished. And obviously Bianca Del Rio, Alaska Thunderfuck and RuPaul.
Prom Kween – How one boy made ‘herstory’ will be performed as a work in progress at the VAULT Festival 2017 from Wednesday 15th to Sunday 19th February. For tickets and more information click here!