Drag Queen and Performer Alexis Michelle Visits Musical Theatre II

Alex Michaels, better known as drag queen and performer Alexis Michelle, spoke to Musical Theatre II students about his drag journey and performing in cabarets to help students prepare for their own cabarets this semester. Michaels was born and raised in New York City and said that seeing Into the Woods on Broadway was what made him want to do theatre. Throughout his life, he said he’s been impacted by “dynamo women,” like Stockard Channing, Julie Andrews and Olivia Newton John. 


Michaels said he grew up playing dress up and that eventually dress up became drag. 

Alexis Michelle was in season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race, placing fifth. He auditioned for the show for eight years before finally being chosen as one of the fourteen contestants of season nine. 

Michaels used his long road to Drag Race as advice for the students. 

“You’re studying something that involves a lot of putting yourself out there and being rejected,” Michaels said. Even though he was rejected for several years by Drag Race, he persevered until he was cast. 

While in college, Michaels said he participated in student-produced cabarets. Since then, Michelle has gone on to produce and perform in her own cabarets at Feinstein/54 Below. 

Michaels said that cabaret gives you the opportunity to take badges from your own life and sing songs about them. 

“That’s what makes cabaret so special,” he said, noting that you don’t always share experience with roles you play, but that in cabaret, you choose what you’re singing and connecting with. 

Michaels said he loves the artistic control cabaret gives you as the producer of your own show. He said it’s deeply personal.

“It is the most personal performance medium in our medium,” he said. 

When planning a cabaret, Michaels said you can find inspiration all around you. To Michaels, the inspiration stage is the most fun part of putting on a cabaret because of the fact that song inspiration is everywhere. 

The most important part of cabaret, however, is that you connect with what you’re singing and performing, according to Michaels. 

“If you’re disconnected from what you’re singing, don’t expect anyone to connect with you while singing,” he said. 

The Department of Theate Arts & Dance's Musical Theatre II Cabaret will take place on Friday, April 30 at 7:00pm in Dixon Court.