“Moonlight” Writer Tarell Alvin McCraney To Make Play About First Drag Queen Presidential Candidate

Tarell Alvin McCraney is putting on a play production about the first drag queen to run for U.S. president.


McCraney was the playwright of In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, an unpublished semi-autobiographical play about a poor gay, black man in Florida. That play later became the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight.

Now as Playbill reports, McCraney is sharing his next project, which happens to be about Joan Jett Blakk.

Blakk, the persona of Chicago-born Terence Smith, is America’s first drag queen presidential candidate. She announced her presidential run at the 1992 Democratic National Convention

In addition, Blakk ran with the slogan “Lick Bush in ’92," and the slogan “Lick Slick Willie in ’96!” when she ran again in 1996.


McCraney will be honoring the history of Joan Jett Blakk with the new play titled Ms. Blakk for President.

The play will be produced at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, and McCraney is enlisting the help of SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical director Tina Landau. On top of that, McCraney will star in the role.

“Tina and I want to focus on something that is current and bold and allows me to use some tools that I haven’t exercised in a while; my acting,” McCraney said after the production was announced. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring Ms. Blakk for President to Chicago.”


Need to know more about the production? Well, the Steppenwolf theatre company has you covered with the following description:

“Meet Ms. Joan Jett Blakk as she sets off on her journey to run for President of the United States. Inspired by the true story of America’s first black drag queen presidential candidate, Joan’s story begins in Chicago; it’s 1992 and, with the AIDS crisis at its height, Joan and the newly formed Queer Nation Chicago have big goals in mind. Joan sets off on an exhilarating and dangerous journey to drag queer politics out of the closet and into a future where ALL are visible and ALL have a place at the table. Part campaign rally, part nightclub performance, part confessional, and all PARTY!, MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT takes us into the heart and mind of one of Chicago’s most radical and influential citizens.”

“Watch out for Ms. Blakk: she's not afraid to drag the competition.”

This has been an exciting couple of years for Tarell Alvin McCraney.


Not only did he play inspire what became an Academy award winning film, but he also became the chair of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama (his alma mater). Plus, he’s the resident playwright at the Yale Repertory Theatre.

On top of that, McCraney is having his Broadway debut with his play Choir Boy, about a young gay. black man who sings in the choir at his Christian boarding school.

We look forward to McCraney’s future projects and seeing Ms. Blakk for President’s opening in Chicago on June 3, 2019.

1 thought on ““Moonlight” Writer Tarell Alvin McCraney To Make Play About First Drag Queen Presidential Candidate”

  1. The flaw here is that the

    The flaw here is that the writers have not talked with Joan or responded to her inquiries about what is going on. To the knowledge of many of the original campaign participants none of us have been consulted. This is shameful.


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