If there’s one musical number that’ll burrow its way into your brain, it’s the opening musical number from Huluween Dragstravaganza. The song is still stuck in my head days after watching the Spooky Season special. Guess what? I’m not complaining. Hulu composed quite the content slate for Halloween this year. Dragstravaganza is one of a handful of projects under the “Huluween” umbrella.
Folks, it’s the personification of fun. You’ll be moving, grooving and tapping your toes to the songs while laughing your ass off at the hilarious Halloween-themed sketches. It’s a glorious drag show hosted by Monét X Change and Ginger Minj while featuring the talents of Manila Luzon, Jackie Beat, Jujubee, Mo Heart, Lady Bunny, Selene Luna and Landon Cider.
Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with Ginger Minj and Manila Luzon about preparing for the musical numbers in Huluween Dragstravaganza, their favorite segments, costumes and more.
This interview is condensed for length and clarity.
Melody McCune: First of all, I love the special; it’s so fun. I still have a big ole smile on my face after watching it. I want to ask you about the opening musical number. What was it like preparing for that?
Ginger Minj: I got the song a week before we started filming, and then we recorded it the day before we filmed it. It was a quick turnaround. I didn’t have a chance to get sick of it. The second I heard it, it reminded me of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m in musical theater, so I loved it and was excited to jump in and do it. Monét and I had the best time with those gorgeous dancers. Our choreographer, Monika [Felice Smith], was incredible. Because I am not a dancer — I’m the first one to say that — but she took us by the hand and led us through it.
MM: Do you have a favorite segment from the special?
Manila Luzon: I have a favorite segment that I was in and a favorite segment that I wasn’t in. I enjoyed watching Lady Bunny and Jackie Beat as mummies.
MM: That was so fun.
GM: It’s so silly, but it’s so them.
ML: It was so them. It’s nice to see them portraying characters that are age appropriate. So, that was fun. But I enjoyed doing “The Next American Slasher” musical sketch with Jujubee and Mo Heart. That was a lot of fun to get to play crazy.
GM: Monét and I were so disconnected from everything else. The only time we got to be with everybody was the finale. It was a long day, but it was so much fun. There were no bad moods, no bad apples in the bunch. Everybody had a good time doing it. I think Manila will back me up. Watching Lady Bunny and Jackie Beat not only try to learn the choreography but then try to do it while walking downstairs was fun.
ML: That’s hard. You’re trying to mug for the camera, but also watch your steps, so you don’t fall down the stairs in your heels.
MM: Manila, speaking of “The Next American Slasher,” what was it like learning the choreography and music for that?
ML: The music was so fantastic. It was a lot of fun going in the week before to record. When doing a project like that, you’re recording and trying to imagine how you will perform it in this asylum. So, it was great to match it up from the performance a week earlier and recreate it on set in your full costume. And getting to work with the choreographer, Monika, and all of the dancers, felt like a fun challenge from RuPaul’s Drag Race, especially getting to do it with Jujubee and Mo Heart.
MM: Was there room for improv with the script?
GM: With Monét and myself, they were like, “Okay, this is the outline of what we’ve got and if you think you’ve got something funnier, let’s do it.” We would do a couple of takes that were as written, and then we do two takes where we riffed and had a good time. A lot of those improvised takes are the ones that made it into the final edit. They trusted us. The two of us have known each other for so long. We have so much fun when we host in a club together — this felt the same.
MM: Did you have a lot of input regarding your costumes?
GM: They gave us the outline, kind of like the script. “Here’s the outline, these are the points we want to hit with the costume, but we want it to be you. We want it to be your interpretation.” They gave us the budget and said, “Y’all go on and get this created.” I talked to Monét, and we both looped in each other’s designers, and they came up with things that were complementary but still us. I didn’t have nearly as many costume changes as Manila and the other girls.
MM: Manila, do you have any favorite costumes?
ML: I got to repurpose an old costume of mine, which is exciting because I got to go to my closet and pull out something and bring new life to it. That was a lot of fun. Then, I found some old ratted wigs in the bottom of the bin and was like, “This is great. I’m going to look totally crazy wearing this wig, so I’m bringing it out.” We love getting dressed up for Halloween, and as a drag queen, you might need to have a couple of extra costumes.
MM: Last question. Describe Dragstravaganza using three words.
GM: Campy. Corny. Spoopy.
ML: Spoopy. Yeah, definitely. It’s funny, wild and spoopy.
GM: Spooky is scary, but spoopy is scary covered in glitter.
MM: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Ginger and Manila!
GM and ML: Thank you!
Before you go, you can watch the music video for the super catchy “The Next American Slasher” below. Watch Huluween Dragstravaganza to get in the Spooky Season mood, now streaming on Hulu.
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