Anyone who has seen Some Like It Hot on Broadway will probably have J. Performance by Harrison Ghee. In fact, Ghee’s own life as a non-binary performer mirrors themes of self-expression and freedom they bring to their roles as Jerry/Daphne – the recently fugitive bassist s, his experiments with cross-dressing lead to a real revelation in the musical. “I make my friends cross-dress for fun,” they told Vogue
editor Chloe Schama last year. “This is an experience I would recommend to anyone. It helps you get in touch with parts of you that you don’t normally get in touch with. Letting go and seeing yourself is my mantra.”
Zhou Five, Vogue spoke to Ghee — the Tony-nominated leading man in this year’s musical — about bringing their characters to life, what they wore on Sunday night, and The emotional impact of being a role model for LGBTQ+ theater lovers.
Vogue: How do you feel, with Sunday’s awards round up the horns?
J. Harrison Ghee: I So happy. I’m so excited. Literally, I just finished my last fitting and the butterflies have started.
Want to spoil the look?
This is a fairy tale – I’ll say so.
How was it like meeting and creating the character Jerry/Daphne?
When I got the audition, I wasn’t familiar with the [Billy Wilder] movie, so I went to see it. I fell in love with this movie, but I do see room for improvement, and ways to push it forward. I get excited about reading scripts, jumping right into the material and finding ways to keep playing, and that’s exactly what we did — we just kept playing. Even during the pandemic, there’s been a lot of conversation about materials and clothing. There was so much collaboration throughout the process, which I really appreciate.
How does it feel to be one of the first non-binary actors nominated for a Tony, along with
Shelled ‘s Alex Newell?
This proves a point, if one is doing great work, it should be done to respect that work. It definitely feels like it pushes forward, not just in our entertainment industry, but in the world at large. Especially with all the legislation going on for the LGBTQIA+ community and drag queens, trans and non-binary people, I don’t take it lightly because I have the opportunity to be in that role and have a say during this time.