J. Harrison Ghee: A Groundbreaking Tony Winner
Broadway actor J. Harrison Ghee captivated audiences and critics alike with their performance in the hit show Some Like It Hot, a role that not only earned them rave reviews but also made history by earning Ghee a Tony Award win. Ghee’s portrayal of Jerry/Daphne was a breakthrough moment for the nonbinary actor, whose personal experiences and truth infused the character with authenticity and relatability.
Bringing Truth to the Stage
Ghee, who identifies as nonbinary and uses he/she/they pronouns, found immense value in being able to bring their authentic self into the creative process. In an interview with Us Weekly at the American Theatre Wing’s fall gala, Ghee expressed that being able to incorporate their own truth into their work is essential for effective artistry and ministry. To Ghee, the ability to come into a room and infuse their experiences and identity into their performance is a powerful and meaningful aspect of their craft.
When it came to portraying Jerry/Daphne in Some Like It Hot, Ghee found the process to be collaborative and transformative. They shared in an Instagram video posted by the show’s account that elements of their everyday life and personal expressions often found their way into the script. This integration of Ghee’s lived experiences added depth and authenticity to the character, making Jerry a grounded artist with big dreams.
A Transcendent Experience
Some Like It Hot, based on the iconic 1959 film, tells the story of two Prohibition-era musicians who witness a mob hit and are forced to go into hiding. Ghee’s character, Jerry, and co-star Christian Borle’s character find themselves on the run from gangsters and decide to disguise themselves in drag. What follows is an experience that Jerry finds not only exhilarating but also transformative.
Ghee’s portrayal of Jerry and their chemistry with Borle’s character, Hoe, is rooted in love, truth, and shared experiences. The friendship between Jerry and Hoe becomes a powerful cornerstone of the show, portraying the depth and authenticity of their connection.
Making Tony History
Ghee’s phenomenal performance in Some Like It Hot earned them their first Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. This nomination was historic as it marked the first time a nonbinary actor had been recognized in this category. And when the moment arrived, Ghee’s name was called, and they stood on that stage with their trophy in hand. It was a surreal and emotional experience for Ghee, who was grateful to share the moment with their mother.
Reflecting on the win, Ghee still finds themselves in awe every day as they glance at the Tony Award perched on a shelf above their TV. The achievement serves as a reminder of their talent and the impact they have made on the theater world.
Ghee’s talent transcends the stage; their impeccable sense of style has also been turning heads. When it comes to choosing their wardrobe, Ghee takes a playful and experimental approach. They describe it as spending time in their closet, allowing themselves to “play” and discover the vibe they want to embody on any given day. This freedom of expression and fashion artistry further showcases Ghee’s versatility and creativity.
The Impact of Representation
Ghee’s Tony win not only highlights their extraordinary talent but also underscores the importance of representation in the entertainment industry. As a nonbinary actor, Ghee’s recognition signals a positive shift towards greater inclusivity and diversity. Their success paves the way for future generations to see themselves represented on stage and screen, breaking down barriers and challenging outdated norms.
In conclusion… J. Harrison Ghee’s Tony Award win and groundbreaking performance in Some Like It Hot serve as a testament to the power of authenticity and representation in the arts. By infusing their own truth into their work, Ghee has not only captivated audiences but also made history and inspired countless individuals.