Well hello there Coco Taylor! You’re my first interview of the new year!
Hello hello! Happy to break the 2022 shell. Thank you for having me!
Happy to have you, especially in light of the busy schedule you have coming up! We’re just two days away from the premiere of American Teen Princess at the world famous Laurie Beechman Theatre! Can you tell us a little bit about how this show came together?
Sure! It’s one of my favorite films and I had performed a mix dedicated to it when I won Miss Rockbar years ago. From that came the idea to do a full-scale production with a full cast. Thankfully our friends at Spin Cycle liked the idea, gave me a date and the work began!
Of course we’re talking about the beloved cult film, Drop Dead Gorgeous. Why do you think that movie resonates with so many drag queens?
“It, well, it teaches you what’s really important in life, and it has the power to change you in ways you’ve never dreamed of.” All kidding aside, it’s full of strong, funny women who were either stars already or became big stars after. It also hilariously skewers the pageant world that we queens toil in as well.
Fun fact: I started writing Drop Dead Fred which would have led to a very different show on your part I think. You’ve also assembled a powerhouse cast filled with some of the brightest stars in the New York City drag scene. How did you bring all these performers together for this show?
Well, sadly after our premiere performance in January of 2020 so many of our cast moved away. Heidi Haux, who is returning, and I got together to brainstorm who we wanted to work with and who fit the characters. I had worked with Aria Derci on The Simsinz so that was immediate. Chola Spears had just won Miss Rockbar so I got to see her comedic talents. AuDrey Phoenix and I were one of the last one-night-only shows at Therapy and she is SO smart. And I have wanted to work with Holly Box-Springs for so long but never had the chance. I may have lost Miss Big Adam’s Apple Comedy Queen to her, but my consolation prize is I got her to star in this whacky show.
So what can people expect from this show on Friday night? (Get your tickets here)
They should expect a hilarious send-up of the film, with references pulled from it but also from around the drag queen canon. This show has everything: Gloria Estefan, Smash, Designing Women, and maybe a confetti cannon or two. You can come in a life-long fan and quote along with us, or come knowing nothing and run out dying to see the movie.
So let’s hop in the Delorean and go back in time a bit. Where does your origin story begin?
Oh wow. Well, Cody was born and raised in Salinas, CA but moved to NYC after college in 2006. Coco was born first at the penultimate Fire Island Drag Party but came into her own after winning Miss Rockbar in 2017.
What was your first exposure to the world of drag?
As you’ll hear more a little later, it really was through movies. My local Blockbuster (dating myself, I know) had a large “independent film” section which was code for gay movies. Seeing Coco Peru in Trick, Patrick Swayze in To Wong Foo and classics like Priscilla and Hairspray exposed me to the wonderful world of drag.
Look at you leading me right into my segue like a pro! That’s right kids, Coco has not one but two big shows coming up! Let’s talk about Coco Taylor’s A Reel Drag, shall we? (Get tickets here)
As we say in the movies, action!
So what level of masochism led you to work on two full stage shows at the same time? How did the concept for this show come about?
A high level to be sure! Thankfully American Teen Princess was written and built, we just had to plug in the new cast. Part of that was the genesis for A Reel Drag. I’ve wanted to do a one-woman show for awhile, and picking up American Teen Princess again made me realize that rehearsing six drag queens is a bit like herding cats.
I’m not sure if that’s more insulting to cats or queens?
Me either! But I love both so I’ll keep at it. This show all about my love of the classic gay cinema of my youth: the 1990’s. I’ve taken three of my favorites and created mini-musicals of them, which I tell through mixes of music and dialogue. Plus a few personal stories and surprises along the way!
And this show is bringing you back to the Laurie Beechman Theatre again as well. You know, at this rate they’re going to be asking you to clear tables and tend bar you’re there so much!
I practically live there now! It’s one of my favorites venues in NYC. I’m so grateful to Members Only Boylesque for giving me the chance to host and make my debut there. That led me to hosting many more times with them, plus doing the first run of American Teen Princess and The Simsinz there. There’s nothing like it in NYC and I’m so happy to be back. On February 18, I’ll actually do a two-show day there with A Reel Drag and Member’s Only Boylesque (Get tickets here)!
So we have reached……THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Are you ready??
Like Kirsten Dunst in another movie- BRING IT ON!
Must have makeup item?
Alcone’s Stop The Sweat. Only thing that keeps me from sweating my face off.
4 AM post show food craving?
Empanada Mama of course!
The best part of drag?
Getting out of it. *laughs*
The worst part of drag?
Getting into it!
Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?
I grew up on a working farm and drove a tractor before I could drive a car.
Drag artist you would pay the most to see?
Dina Martina, and I have several times. So smart, so funny and wickedly post-modern
Last movie to make you cry?
Would you like to say anything here about Bruno?
… we don’t talk about Bruno.
Streaming Binge recommendation?
I’m making my way through Bob’s Burgers after falling behind- it’s SO good!
Disney character you relate to the most?
Jessica Rabbit to be sure. I’m not bad… I’m just drawn that way
In the movie of your life, who plays you?
Bianca Del Rio in drag, Trixie Mattel out of drag
Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?
I took a lot off and just use Spotify now, but I will NEVER take the 1996 revival cast album of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM off my phone. It was my first show I saw AND it’s not available on streaming.
Well the judges are tabulating the results but I think you have made the Miss Lightning Round top five! Condragulations!
I got second runner-up! I got second place!
So where can people keep up with you on the interwebs?
Despite recently moving across the river to New Jersey, I’m still @CocoTaylorNYC on all social media platforms. Come follow along!
Well my dear, we have just about reached the end of our time together but I am such a fan of your work and your humor so I’m very excited to see these shows and more from you in the future. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the WERRRK. com Universe before we go?
I’ll never get to say it on Drag Race, so here’s my entrance line: “Jealousy is a disease. Get well soon!”