Best Breakout Artist: Jerick Hoffer

Who knew Jerick Hoffer was destined for stardom? First, probably, his fellow students at Cornish College; then most everyone who’s seen his local stage performances. I suspected it after his memorably fearless performance in Balagan Theatre’s Spring Awakening, and was convinced when I saw his radiant charisma as Angel in the 5th Avenue’s Rent. LOGO audiences discovered it as they watched him, in his drag-queen persona Jinkx Monsoon, win the most recent season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And any number of online reviewers found out when they saw Hoffer in his cabaret show The Vaudevillians, currently playing New York through August 22: “Perfect comic timing,” one gushed, “the millennial Kiki and Herb.” Hoffer’s approach to drag is to cross-breed it with acting—not just looking and behaving fabulous, but actual character work. In one episode of Drag Race, a judge called him “the Meryl Streep of drag queens” after his brilliant turn as Little Edie from the documentary-turned-musical Grey Gardens. (Not many of his less-savvy competitors, their pop-culture blinders on, got the reference.) I can’t think of anyone more likely to inspire in Seattle theatergoers the future boast, “I saw him when . . . ”

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