Category is… Viva Drag Vegas! Just ask Jamal Sims, dance icon and one of the masterminds behind the glitziest show to return to the Las Vegas Strip this week, RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! Together with RuPaul, this king of choreo takes a seat back behind the director’s chair to lead a star-studded cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race titans (and our steamy set of Pit Crew hunks) to jaw-dropping moves, stoned stiletto-assisted stunts, and–for just one–the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar.
But behind all of the glitter, sweat, and tears, Jamal Sims never drops his smile. And why should he? After decades of experience, including a Vegas stint dancing in RuPaul’s headlining Sahara show 25 years ago, he’s seen and conquered just about everything. We sat down with Sims to talk about the show’s triumphant return to Sin City, how he dances (pun intended) between his roles as a choreographer and director, and why RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! is unlike any other show the Strip has ever seen.
First and foremost, how do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! making its grand return to the stage?
I am so excited about RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! coming back to Vegas! I feel like we are in a period of time where we need celebration and to spread love. And what better way to celebrate and spread love and with amazing drag queens putting on a spectacular show?
How have you progressed as a director and choreographer during this pandemic?
I’ve been very fortunate as a creative to thrive during the pandemic, only because of the need to provide entertainment for the world. Making films and working on Drag Race has really helped bring joy to so many during this tough period.
What does it mean to you that drag performances are returning?
It means so much to me to have drag performers returning to the stage. The queens provide a form of escapism that is so important. Also, they put out love to audiences across the globe.
What can people expect when they come to RuPaul’s Drag Race Live?
Vegas audiences can expect all of the fun and razzle-dazzle of the television show but on steroids! It’s really entertaining!
In one word how would you describe the show?
In one word, I would describe our show as EPIC!
What’s been your experience so far with translating your work on RuPaul’s Drag Race into RuPaul’s Drag Race Live?
It’s been really challenging, but at the same time very rewarding translating Drag Race from television to stage. Being able to take certain liberties and interacting with the live audience takes the concept to a whole new level. The fact that the show feels new every night due to its spontaneous nature is very cool.
Any fun memories you can share?
One of my favorite memories was rehearsing with Derrick Barry flying in for her Britney Spears number! It was very high and Derrick was very nervous. It was really fun to watch.
What are some future projects we can look out for?
At the moment I am wrapping up 13: The Musical for Netflix here in Toronto. It’s going to be a very special film, and I am so proud to have been able to work on this. I also have Disney’s animated film, Encanto that will be released in November. Some fun things are coming up!
You can watch Jamal’s magic be translated onto the stage at RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! Snatch your tickets and don’t miss out on the amazing production starting August 5th here.