Outlook Ohio News: Staley Jophiel Munroe Joins Virginia West for “Stadium Virginium: All the Hits!”

Staley Jophiel Munroe, Columbus, Ohio native, is an accomplished Photographer and Art Director in the Fashion Industry.

Living and working in major cities like NYC, Los Angeles, and Columbus, Staley boasts a diverse resume from event production at New York Fashion Week to Makeup Artistry for films in Hollywood. Her additional editorial talents as a stylist, retoucher and visual merchandiser bring new meaning to the term “well-rounded.”

Currently, Staley champions the cause of the Columbus Transgender community, speaking at local schools, theatre panels, and official dialogues. Upcoming projects include collaborating with community organizations to develop more Transgender focused social gatherings, a mentorship program, and group activities. After starring in two recent theatre productions, Staley will be making her dancing debut as a featured dancer in the 6th annual “Stadium Virginium: All the Hits!”     

“Stadium Virginium: All the Hits!”, tell us about the show. 

This is Virginia West’s 6th installment of Stadium, one of the greatest and biggest drag shows of the year! The show boasts a cast of 21 members, with incredible choreography and sometimes acrobatics in every number. This 6th installment of Stadium will feature all the greatest hits of the 70’s and 80’s, so definitely a must-see for the rock and roll lovers out there! The show averages about $8k for charity during a run, sometimes more, which is especially meaningful to me as an activist, and a noteworthy character point of the Columbus LGBTQ and Allied community.

image: Virginia West, Stadium Virginium: All the Hits!

What is your role in the show?

I have the honor of joining 7 other incredible, breathtaking performers as a Concert Dancer, with the additional privilege of debuting my first ever solo number in the show! I am by far the least experienced member in the group, yet everyone has been ridiculously supportive and encouraging as I’ve struggled to find my dancer’s feet. Every time I feel like quitting, another cast member comes alongside me to relay their own experiences as a newcomer, build me up, and renew my confidence. And that’s the beautiful thing about these shows – we become a family, and in doing so I’ve gotten to know some of the kindest, most loving hearts in the city.

How did you get involved with this show?

A few months ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I lost my job, my relationship was struggling, and I became ill after losing my health coverage – all in one week. Having been a massive fan of Virginia West’s now 20-year career, and after seeing as many of her performances as I could, naturally, my friends took me to her newest drag show to cheer me up. Stepping outside Axis that night to have a good cry, I was surprised to see Virginia taking a breather before her next number, and she immediately began comforting me. She helped me regain my composure, have a little faith, then casually invited me to join the cast for the next show, discerningly sensing it may do me some good. I was floored and accepted as she darted back inside to complete the show, which ended in non-surprising standing ovations. Fast forward a few months and here we are!

Who is the show supporting?

This run we are supporting Ronald McDonald house, Besa, and Kaleidoscope.

RMH’s mission is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families, with the Columbus RMH being the largest in the world! Besa connects people with local charities – from food pantries and community gardens to homeless shelters and senior homes. Kaleidoscope Youth Center is the only organization in Ohio solely dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their allies. These organizations in our community do a world of good every day, and it’s an honor for us as the Cast of Stadium to entertain and make a difference at the same time.

Do you see yourself doing more shows like this in the future?

In a heartbeat. I think the real question is would they ever invite my two left feet back
haha! Absolutely, this has been a big growing experience for me, teaching me to show confidence, have fun, believe in myself, and build more relationships within this incredible performance community.

You are Transgender and there is a segment of the community that prefers to have a clear delineation between being transgender and doing drag. What are your perspectives on this?

Drag is a beautiful, fun, entertaining ART form! It continues to become more diverse and colorful with many different facets, but at it’s heart is the outlet of being free to be yourself – to paint your face, to dance around in a dress if you feel like it, to love yourself, and live in a judgment free zone. It’s wild, dramatic, and intoxicating! So as a woman of Trans experience, these are all core values I’m on board with.

Several Trans women I know got their start in the drag community, possibly as a cathartic means of treating crippling gender dysphoria, though they later transitioned after having formed a healthier support group, or better understanding their personal needs went far beyond the art form. Delineating between where a Drag Queen ends and a Transgender Woman begins is very clear: just take them both off the stage. A Drag Queen hangs up her costume, where as a Transgender woman never wore a costume to begin with.

It’s vitally important for everyone to shift their perspective to see that gender identity is not exclusive to clothing. A drag queen is a man who’s there to perform, where a Transgender woman is all about NOT “performing” any longer, but living authentically as the gender they identify with. To my knowledge, Transgender women who appear in Drag shows usually take more of a “showgirl” nature to their performances, rather than an entirely alternative persona like their Drag Queen friends – but that’s the gorgeous thing about the Drag community! We are less about labels and more about giving everyone the opportunity to say who they are for themselves.

Luckily for me, I’m just a dancer, so hopefully it’s a little less complicated. 😉

You can purchase tables, balcony seating, and general admission passes now by visiting:
http://www.eventbrite.com/o/axis-club-4208179489

STADIUM VIRGINIUM VI – ALL THE HITS will play 9 shows at Axis Night Club.

FRI FEB 10th 8PM
SAT FEB 11th 8PM
FRI FEB 17th 8PM
SAT FEB 18th 5PM
SAT FEB 18th 9PM
SUN FEB 19th 8PM
FRI FEB 24th 8PM
SAT FEB 25th 5PM
SAT FEB 25th 9PM

Get your tables and seats now and GET READY TO ROCK!

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