10 May 2023 (released)
11 May 2023
The Broadway premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, music and libretto by Jerry Herman and book by Harvey Fierstein, took place in 1993. Shortly after, followed such shows as Priscilla Queen of the Desert (2011), Kinky Boots (2012) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2014). In this interview, Vincent Celeiro aka Nomi Sas (his drag persona) tells about his career as a professional performer and drag queen in the world of musical theatre. Vincent has performed in all major musicals, which feature a drag-queen character.
“…I feel very blessed to have done the whole trifecta of musicals which tell the stories of Drag Queens.” – Vincent Celeiro
Do the drag queens stick together? I remember, when we did La Cage Aux Folles, we all spoke about Kinky Boots, and we were joking that our whole cast should just move on to doing Kinky Boots right after.
Yes! It’s funny, at the end of every run, you kind of turn to the girls and say – “This is going to be the last time for us doing this together!” We all paint together, it’s always a very intimate time. It takes two hours before curtain for us to get ready. At least that’s when I get to the theatre. And that’s the time when you get into your meditative state, and you have a person next to you on either side… we are – one family.
Does it happen often, when you go from one musical to another – that you end up working with the same girls again?
Hasn’t happened to me. I have been able to meet someone new every single time that I’ve done the show. And I’ve done Kinky Boots twice, as well as La Cage – so each time I was surrounded by a completely different group of people.
So, which show out of the trifecta is your favorite?
It’s hard to say honestly. Each show has a different place in my heart. I would say – Priscilla Queen of the Desert, since it was my first gig. I also met so many people during it, some people who I still keep in contact with today. We all have a nice connection.
So, we’ve talked about your first show and your favorite show – which, as far as I understand now, was actually Cabaret, where you played a Kit Kat Girl in drag. So, what are the shows on your bucket list, that you would still love to be a part of?
I would love to play Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity – that is my dream role. Sally Bowles would be fun to play. Also, Chorus Line – I would love to be Sheila or Cassie. Theatre is opening up to having drag queens and having more representation of drag than what we’ve seen before. And that is hopeful for a drag artist to play all these different roles and hopeful for anyone to play whatever they would want to play.
When you become a drag queen on stage, how do you feel about it – are you a woman, or are you a man playing a woman? Do you transform yourself completely into a woman and you are Nomi Sas – the woman, on stage? How does it feel to you?
It’s very interesting. If you were to ask me that a while ago, when I first started doing drag – I would have said – “I am a man in a dress”. And now that I’ve been more comfortable in presenting as non-binary and coming out and saying that I use all pronouns – he, she and they... the transformation of Vinny into Nomi is the bigger picture of it. That is the magic of drag – I fully become Nomi.
I’m glad I asked that question. It sounds like it was quite a journey for you…
Yes. And non-binary - is such a new term in our society. If you asked me that question in the middle of my journey – I would have said – “Sometimes I’m a woman, sometimes I’m a man, wearing a lot of female products…” It’s like having a different body that fits in different clothing and how you carry that body.
What are you focusing on right now?
I’m focusing on theatre, auditions, booking a cruise ship gig, and the main goal – making my Broadway debut. That is why I came to live in this city. I wouldn’t have such a resume if it wasn’t for Nomi. Drag has played a super informative and transformative part in my career.
Usually during drag shows you lip sync, but do you also have moments when you have to sing live?
Yes, if you can sing and it’s in your skill set – absolutely. We mix it up.