The WERRRK.com Interview: Cacophony Daniels

 


 

Hi there Cacophony! I’m excited to talk to with you tonight although having just returned from the thriving metropolis of Kalamazoo, this probably pales in excitement compared to that!

Oh yes! Kalamazoo was all hustle and bustle. Mostly hustle. But now I’m back to the REAL metropolis, New York City! I’m so glad to be home, I love it here.

Well it’s tough to beat the easy access to Papaya King and $1 pizza slices! How did you and your partner in crime Sutton Lee Seymour enjoy Pride in Michigan though?

Oh my gosh, it was so much fun! The crowd and the energy there were fantastic. I always love going to “small towns” where it’s still kind of “special” to be gay and proud. People are so full of love and wonder. In NYC you can’t throw a stick without hitting another homosexual. In Kalamazoo they’re a little harder to spot, so when they all come together it’s a party!

You and Sutton have become quite the dynamic duo! How did you two gals pair up?

We met a few years ago. I was playing a role in the first New York production of “Fabulous! The Musical” (Don’t ask.). I left town to go do Jersey Boys in Las Vegas, and Sutton was cast in the role that I’d played. (Both of us were boys in the show… one of the only roles that WASN’T in drag.) Fast forward to a year later when one of our cast mates was moving to LA. We met again at his going away party. I was JUST starting to explore drag in NY, and Sutton was by then pretty well established. I asked if she had any tips or could have me guest with her, and she suggested I enter her “Sing Queen” contest at Barracuda. I did, and WON the first night! (I couldn’t complete the competition because I got a guest spot on a cruise ship). After that, she started bringing me in as a guest at Broadway Mondays and Albatross. Then, in late 2016, when Sutton was planning to be in Puerto Vallarta for the winter, (NYC promoter) Justin Luke asked if I would fill in for her while she was gone. I gladly accepted and did the show for three months. I guess Hardware liked me, because when Sutton came back they asked me to stay and co-host with her permanently! They’ve been really great. They recognized that the show is stronger with both of us, and gave us the resources and the space to really make Broadway Mondays the premier Broadway themed drag show in New York. And now she can’t get rid of me!

Wait, I’m confused. What are “boy roles”?

Ha! Right?

How did you and your adorable family enjoy your first Father’s Day together?

We had a wonderful day. My son recorded a song for me and made a sweet card for my husband. We went to the Rubin Museum’s street fair and then had donuts at Donut Pub. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.

You had me a donuts….but I guess fatherhood is good too.

It’s the best!

Considering how far we have come in the last few years as a community, do you think you could have imagined having a husband and a son when you were younger?

I didn’t. I always had the thought “when I’m a parent” but then I’d think it wasn’t possible. I feel so lucky that our community has come so far.

Since we’re going back in time, let’s hop in the Delorean and go back even further! Where does your story begin?

Well, I’m from California originally – the San Francisco Bay Area. Like so many queens, I was a theatre kid. I studied theatre and dance in college, and moved to NYC in 2001 to pursue my stage career. I joined the union and started working regionally, then touring. I made my Broadway debut in Jersey Boys in 2012. It was actually on tour with Jersey Boys that Cacophony was born. All the gays in the show would get together every week to watch “Drag Race,” and for the finale of season 3 we decided to have a big party. We rented out a floor of The Gay 90’s in Minneapolis and the ENTIRE company came in drag. Stagehands, band, you name it. It was a blast. The gays went full out and all learned how to glue down our brows, style wigs, etc. Each of us came up with a name, and I chose Cacophony, because I’m always accused of being too loud. Fast forward to being back in NY and looking for a creative outlet between acting gigs. I started making looks and learning songs, and my real “go” at being Cacophony began. I still call Cacophony the best day-job in the world.

What was your first exposure to drag growing up? 

The scene in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead when the male protagonist yells out Those Drag Queens are stealing my car!

“Liza??”

Yes!!!

That is SUCH an underrated movie! “I’ll get right on that Rose.” really should be a much bigger part of our everyday vernacular.

Oh my God, absolutely! And I LOVE that actress, Joanna Cassidy!

We should probably move on before I start saying things like “Dishes are done man!”.

Ha!

When you did drag for that first time, did it hold an instant appeal for you?

I mean, I’d done drag before, but never that seriously. Just for Halloweens and stuff. Oh yes, and in my Senior Project at my Catholic College I did drag and performed Coco Peru‘s monologue from “Trick“. Drag has always had the same appeal as theatre for me: I get to transform myself. I’ve always enjoyed becoming unrecognizable. I loved doing drag in college for Halloween and going to parties and having straight boys hit on me because they had no clue who I was.

It doesn’t hurt that you have this powerhouse voice to go along with your character. Strawberry and I saw you for the first time at your “Under the C” show and were blown away. (Check out the video of our post-show interview here!)

Oh, thank you so much! I often say that Cacophony grew out of a need for an outlet for that voice. It’s so strange coming out of a little hobbit-like man, but coming out of a “woman” it makes a lot more sense!

Speaking of that show, what was your inspiration to do a show and tell a story themed around the music of Howard Ashman?

Well, like most folks of my generation I grew up on Howard’s Disney films: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. I also always loved the music from Little Shop of Horrors. My husband Jason actually started the Howard Ashman Award at GMHC when he worked there, and in helping him to produce that show I just became OBSESSED with everything that Howard wrote. So I just HAD to do a show of his music and sing all those songs that I wouldn’t get to sing otherwise.

But you also deftly managed to weave your own story into it as well!

Well thank you. I mean, I think that was pretty easy because Howard always wrote about these misfit people who knew they were better than their environs. Why does every little gay boy burst out of the pool flinging his hair back a-la Ariel? Because he sees himself in that girl who’s trapped in a world that doesn’t understand her, who wants more.

So what I am hearing is that you used to comb your hair with a fork…

USED TO?!?

I didn’t want to be presumptuous! But this a perfect segue to talk about your new show, Wanna Bette? Cacophony Sings Bette Midler. (Get tickets here) How did this show come about?

I’ve always been a fan of Bette’s, ever since my step-father recorded her as Mama Rose in Gypsy on CBS in 1992. When she came to Broadway last year in Hello Dolly I was inspired to put together a show featuring ALL of her music. A lot of people know her as the pop-diva behind “Wind Beneath My Wings” or “From a Distance“, but a lot of gays don’t know about her recording career or her tours. She’s an absolute powerhouse in a tiny package, and I identify with that a great deal.

So what can people expect? Will you be taking us back to the bath houses? Metaphorically speaking….I assume.

And literally! Bring a towel! But yes, I start from Bette’s first talent show performance as a school girl, sing through her Broadway career, past the bathhouses and all her albums, on to Johnny Carson and Hollywood. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll drink (because there’s a 2 drink minimum). The show’s at Don’t Tell Mama, smack dab in the middle of Restaurant Row between The Ritz and VSBU. It’s a legendary venue and I’m thrilled to be doing my own cabaret there. Tickets are just $20, which is a steal, especially compared to what you’d pay to actually see Bette in Hello Dolly in its final weeks.

I won’t lie. I love me some Bette and have dabbled in doing her as a character in the past so I am excited to see this show. Why do you think Bette resonates so much with the gay community?

Well she’s been a champion for Gay rights since Stonewall. In the early 70’s she actually went and performed at the March. Bette’s from Hawaii, and my grandmother was too, and my Grandma always used to say “Hawaii’s a big melting pot, we accept everybody.” I think Bette was raised with that same attitude. Plus we love a loud, outspoken woman who’s not afraid to be bawdy. She honed her act with gay men as her audience, her composers and writers have been mostly gay men. Her act was always tailored to us. It’s just that the wider world caught on because no one can resist how fabulous she is.

Survey says……number one answer on the board! Yes, you completely nailed it.

Thank you. It’s nice to nail SOMETHING.

That’s…..too easy. So in addition to your Bette show, you’re going also be teaming up with Sutton yet again for another show at the same venue. Can you give us a sneak peek into that show?

SURE! It’s called “Bedraggled Broadway” and it’s our take on lots of the musicals that are running in the current Broadway season, with some classics thrown in as well. It’s VERY different from our show on Monday nights because it’s a cabaret complete with live piano, not a drag show in a bar. We’re working with Steven Wenslawski as our MD and it’s going to be a hoot.

So which one of you will be playing the groundhog and which one will be playing Jimmy Buffett?

Less of a groundhog and more of a gerbil…the kind Richard Gere likes.

This is how rumors spread Cacophony!

Spread Cacophony? Sounds like my wedding night…

See now my mind was thinking of a non-butter butter spread. Sigh.

Ha! I can’t believe it’s not gerbil!

Well, you just won the internet tonight.

I did?!? What do I get?

Well since its the internet, I assume unsolicited dick pics?

I’ll take ’em!

While we wait for those to download, are you up for…….the Lightning Round??

YES! Hit me!

 

 

Must Have makeup item? 

Lashes. I use Red Cherry 304’s stacked on top of 79’s

4 AM post show food craving?

Barbara’s Cheese Puffs Original

The best part of drag?

Getting out of drag

The worst part of drag?

Trying to find your dick to pee.

Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?

I have a terrible diet. I never eat vegetables. Ever.

Queen you would pay to see?

Coco Peru

Guilty Pleasure?

The Young and the Restless

Last movie to make you cry?

Coco

Death Row last meal?

My step-dad’s tri-tip, a Totinos pepperoni pizza, Barbara’s Cheese Puffs, and a Chocolate Chip shake from Foster Freeze.

Netflix Binge recommendation?

It’s actually on Amazon, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s fantastic.

Disney character you relate to the most?

Marlin in Finding Nemo. I’m really that uptight.

Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?

Darren Chris‘s rendition of Teenage Dream from Glee.

Well, it was touch and go there for a moment but it looks like you’re going to make it through unscathed.

Fabulous! I forgot to mention Sutton and my new YouTube channel, Drag Queen Talk Stuff!

Well you just beat me to the punch. I was just about to ask about that and where people can find you on the interwebs?

I’m at @CacophonyDaniels on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Venmo! And yes, please do visit, like, and subscribe to Drag Queen Talk Stuff on YouTube. It’s so much fun!

What kind of stuff do you talk?

We talk about Broadway, Drag Race, makeup, my kid, her loneliness, current events, and random stuff that pops into our heads. It’s like the View, with only two people, in a basement. And no budget or studio audience. And the people are drag queens.

What kind of goals do you still have on your proverbial drag bucket list? Do you have more solo shows in mind post-Bette?

Right now if I can get past this weekend I’ll consider myself a success! I’d love to do more solo shows, but I’m actually having so much fun with Sutton, I think I’ll keep on dreaming with her. Our creative brains work together very well.

And your brains have led to an amazing series of Broadway themed posters, with a little help from Preston Burford!

Yes! Oh boy we have so much fun with those, and Preston is a Genius!

Photos by Preston Burford

I’m noticing Sutton seems to be a little…..typecast in them?

We both are. Sutton always comes across as the… shall we say, more mature?, one of the two of us. I’m always the ingenue. I think it’s my big… eyes.

I was going to say villain but we can go with mature too I guess. Well my dear, I think we have just about reached the end of the road here. I appreciate you making the time to talk with me tonight. I’m excited to see your Bette show (Get tickets here!) and I’m sure its going to be a big hit! Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave the WERRRK.com universe with?

Yes! Enjoy pride, live life, adopt from the foster system, and come see my damn show!

 

About Chiffon Dior 479 Articles
Despite being a drag journalist for over five years, Chiffon only recently realized that she missed a golden opportunity back then to change her drag name to Rhoda Story.

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