Joshua Grannell’s drag persona Peaches Christ has been in so many “trans”ed” up productions that her resume is as impressive as anyone on the stage today.
“Showgirls,” “Mommie Dearest,” “Grey Gardens,” “Carrie,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Death Becomes Her” and even “Xanadu” have all been camped up and brought to life on stage. With excitement surrounding every production, San Francisco is now abuzz as Peaches Christ and friends prepare to take on “Nine to Five” on Nov. 23 at the Castro Theatre.
Whether it’s doing the very popular volcano dance from “Showgirls,” while offering guests free lap dances to anyone who purchase a large popcorn, or “trans”forming an abbreviated production of the Joan Crawford story into a newly titled “Trannie Dearest,” Peaches has managed to mix both her talents as an actress, writer and director into productions that bring attention to the classic campy cult films and to Peaches herself.
Showing cult movies started years ago when Peaches used to devote the entire Summer to screening campy film classics. Not just screening them, but elevating the evening to a true theatrical production, either with a scripted spoof of the show, interviewing guests stars from the movie or a little bit of both.
Her creativity has also spilled over to the audience, literally, when she screened “Xanadu” and had an actual roller derby inside the theatre.
When Grannell, sans his Peaches persona decided to devote more time to filmmaking, he ended his summer movie series, called Midnight Mass. Followers thought he would forget his cult film fans after he went on to critical success with his first film “All About Evil,” especially when he became an unofficial prodigy to cult master John Waters, whose films have been a mainstay at many a Midnight Mass event.
Peaches Christ has continued to do numerous movie screenings throughout the year and not just in the Summer. Also, the screenings are now at 8pm – a big plus for those who can’t stay up to the wee hours, but they still get a midnight cult film reception.
Peaches is excited about the upcoming “Nine to Five” as she hasn’t presented it since 2001. “It’s one of my favorite movies and it just felt like it was a good time to bring it back,” she says. “Also, Manuel Caneri who’s playing Mister Hart was talking to me all about how much he’d love it if I’d do it again because he missed it the first time around.”
“Nine to Five” isn’t a one woman show. The movie focused on three career woman and Peaches will be joined by Heklina, and RuPaul Drag Race finalist, Pandora Boxx to help create characters similar to Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton played in the 1981 movie.
There wasn’t a cat fight when it came to casting, says Peaches. “I think my casting best suits the marriage between our drag characters and the characters in the movie,” she says. “We’ve all got some pretty big shoes to fill, or in Pandora’s case, a pretty big bra.”
While Grannell’s productions only last one night, an elaborate production is created in any case – complete with script, sets, lighting and costumes. Grannell has been asked why just one night only productions, since the amount of time and effort put into a show is extensive. He says that he “doesn’t have a Broadway budget” and “If it was to run longer it would have to be at a bar venue or something we can afford”, but doesn’t entertain that notion as it would take away from the screening of the movie.
Ultimately, Peaches Christ does all of this for the love of movies.
Yes – after all of the pre-show antics and interviews, there’s still a movie screening. Peaches says that she does her best in balancing the evening’s events so when a movie is spoofed and reenacted “I try to write something that celebrates the fans’ favorite moments,” noting it was particularly tough with “Nine to Five” as there are so many memorable moments.
Ironically, the drag script for “Nine to Five” is called “Work!” and that can’t be more true for Peaches, and her friend and co-star Heklina.
In talking with Heklina, she is currently juggling four different shows at the moment. Besides preparing for “Nine to Five,” she is doing drag versions of “Sex and the City” and “Friends” and preparing for the December “Golden Girls Christmas.” Heklina says, “At least “Sex” and “Friends” will be on hiatus when I am doing ‘Nine to Five.'” She adds, “I am pretty good at learning and memorizing lines. Once I learn a part it becomes like a chip in my brain.”
Since its always more than a movie screening, Peaches encourages people to come in costume and meet the cast after the show. Also, in true Peaches style, the Mezzanine level of the Castro Theatre will have a bar. This time around it’s called Charlie’s, after the bar in the movie, and she promises “there will definitely be a skinny & sweet cocktail.”
To get tickets in advance, which range in price from $25-50 (general admission to VIP), go to www.peacheschrist.com. Also note that there’s a slight discount if you use the PC Fan Club Code, available on the website.