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vampire drag queen title logo

a musical thriller
by John Raymond Barker

Vampire drag queen hand pointing down

What IS IT?

Vampire Drag Queen is a new, original pop musical thriller by John Raymond Barker that is a hybrid of revenge tragedy and the comic book hero origin story.

What's it about?

A drag queen seeks justice after her closest friend and mentor is murdered. When justice is denied, she vows to take action herself and is persuaded to become a vampire to obtain enough power to combat a seemingly unstoppable network of conspirators to the murder. The root of the conspiracy must be unearthed and  brought to justice or destroyed to save her friend from limbo.

poster artwork

What DOES it feel like?

The feel of the piece is primarily like that of a graphic novel mixed with horror. Influences range from Batman/The Dark Knight to Sweeney Todd,  The piece takes great influence from revenge tragedy (see bottom of this page).

 

The music is primarily electronic dance music, including dubstep, but also contains pop, cabaret, tango, and rap. Influences include Lady Gaga, Nine Inch Nails, Adventure Club, Muse, Royksopp, RuPaul, Robyn, Pet Shop Boys, and Madonna. These sounds reflect the styles you’d hear in drag shows, gay clubs and nightlife, and the darker sounds aim to capture the danger of the hate-filled, murderous storyworld.

This background includes art created by  Luis Quintero

What's it about?

A drag queen seeks justice after her closest friend and mentor is murdered. When justice is denied, she vows to take action herself and is persuaded to become a vampire to obtain enough power to combat a seemingly unstoppable network of conspirators to the murder. The root of the conspiracy must be unearthed and  brought to justice or destroyed to save her friend from limbo.

poster artwork

What DOES it feel like?

The feel of the piece is primarily like that of a graphic novel mixed with horror. Influences range from Batman/The Dark Knight to Sweeney Todd,  The piece takes great influence from revenge tragedy (see bottom of this page).

 

The music is primarily electronic dance music, including dubstep, but also contains pop, cabaret, tango, and rap. Influences include Lady Gaga, Nine Inch Nails, Adventure Club, Muse, Royksopp, RuPaul, Robyn, Pet Shop Boys, and Madonna. These sounds reflect the styles you’d hear in drag shows, gay clubs and nightlife, and the darker sounds aim to capture the danger of the hate-filled, murderous storyworld.

This background includes art created by  Luis Quintero

creative team

John Raymond Barker headshot

John Raymond Barker

Book, Music, & Lyrics

John is an actor, singer, writer, director, & voice over artist living in NYC. Represented by ATB Talent, John recently made his network television debut guest starring on Law & Order: SVU. A Master of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Houston School of Theatre, a large part of his training  included working on new plays and musicals with Stuart Ostrow, Edward Albee, Jerry Bock, and Jerry Sterner.

He co-wrote the devised work, Gold Coast, with Stages on the Sound for Metropolitan Playhouse’s Gilded Stage Festival under the guidance of Tectonic Theater Project’s Scott Barrow. John has written and directed shorts and music videos ranging from satire and comedy to politics and activism for YouTube, including Broadway ZombieFierce iPhone UpdateStarbucks is GAY!The Bigot’s Guide to the Homosexual LifestyleBooty Text, and The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever. It was where he wrote and directed one of the first ever web series, the 8-part The Message Board. John has also written the original one-man shows, Jerby: Fully Loaded, Jerby With A “Y”,  A Very Jerby Christmas, & The Lady Gaga Christmas Spectacular. John has directed with the Alley Theatre’s Houston Young Playwright’s Exchange (fun fact: one of his actors was rising star, John Behlmann). John has also been a recurring guest on HuffPost Live, offering his opinion on a variety of topics from politics to entertainment. John recently released his debut album, Our First Christmas Together, which included nine original holiday songs. Future projects include more parodies and shorts, the concept album for Vampire Drag Queen, & Our First Halloween Together.

Jared r Pike headshot

Jared R. Pike

Dramaturg

A Ph.D. candidate in the Theatre and Performance program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), Jared R. Pike sees his role in life as being a “Cultivator of Creativity and Culture.” As such, Jared enjoys working directly with writers and artists to help them develop their ideas and project to their fullest potential. He has worked as a director and dramaturg in New York City and has taken this approach into the classroom working with students and faculty at New York University, New York City College of Technology, Hunter College, Lehman College, and Marymount Manhattan College.

The Origin & transformation

How the musical came to (un)life and its creative journey.

October 25, 2013
October 27, 2013
October 3, 2014
June 3, 2018
When the Shenanigans Begin Again online cabaret poster
June 3, 2018

When the Shenanigans Begin Again on Facebook Live

In June 2018, I attempted something very bold and innovative. I performed the world's first? online cabaret live from my living room in Harlem, NYC and broadcast via Facebook Live. And, it was an absolute fiasco. Instead of starting small, I reached for the stars. And while all elements to create the audio and video for the show were things I've been doing for years, broadcasting
itself was something I took for granted. I knew there was latency--that I would be ahead of the audience--thus communication via chat would be delayed. We fought to remove the echo that was traumatizing me in our studio and won that battle. But we had no idea that the sound and audio were completely off. Either the computer or software couldn't handle greenscreen, overlay, two cameras, music tracks, and a microphone all at once. (At least the effect of duplicating the camera to create my own back up dancers worked). I was and may always be mortified. But I performed the title song, "Better Be Afraid of Me", and the opening of the musical, "It's a Dangerous World". With the latter, I came up with my own way of doing a workshop performance, so the audience could visualize things. I included visuals of text from the script and made paper dolls for each character.

Buy or Stream the original song

a revenge tragedy

A revenge tragedy is a tragedy in which a murder victim is avenged, often by a younger kinsman and usually resulting in the death of both murderer and avenger.

combined images to create a possible moment

The above photo includes a combination of images shot by

ELEMENTS OF REVENGE TRAGEDY

a secret murder

usually of a benign ruler by a bad person

a ghostly visitation

of the murder victim to avenger

a period of disguise, intrigue, or plotting

in which murderer and avenger scheme against each other with a slowly rising body count

a descent into real or feigned madness

by avenger or one of the auxiliary characters

eruption of general violence at end

often accomplished by means of feigned masque or festivity

a catastrophe

that utterly decimates dramatis personae and avenger

a dumb show

exposing the murderer sometimes

soliloquies

(in our case, songs)

a Machiavellian villain

sudden reversals

physical torment/brutal murders

Not all elements are required. There are many revenge tragedies that do not have all.

our vampire laws of science

The laws of science for vampires varies from story to story. These are the ones I have chosen for our storyworld.
  • Silver weakens

  • The sun kills, and a stake in the heart does as well
  • Crosses don’t hurt, nor do holy water or garlic
  • A vampire does age and weaken, just much, much slower than humans

  • Otherwise, vampires have superhuman strength

  • A simple bite will transform someone into a vampire

  • To prevent transformation, the victim's blood must be drained
  • 
A vampire can see their own reflection and be photographed

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