"RuPaul's Drag Race" alum and all-around humanitarian Nina West is hosting a series of online interviews with famous Broadway stars this week via "DragCast with Nina West." Available from dragcast.net or Spotify, this podcast will feature multi-Tony Award-winning actress Glenn Close as the culmination of Broadway Week. Other stars to appear on the DragCast include Caissie Levy (Elsa in the original cast of Disney's "Frozen on Broadway"), Michael J. Scott (Genie in Disney's "Aladdin") and Jeanna DeWaal (Diana in "DIANA: A True Musical Story").
DragCast was first started by West, aka Andrew Levitt, and her co-host Patrica Taylor five years ago. She broadcasts the chats from her home in Columbus, Ohio, as a way for her to discuss "RuPaul's Drag Race," issues affecting the LGBTQ community and to keep people up to date on her career. While she took an extended break from "DragCast," West relaunched it earlier this year with a new celebrity guest format.
West, who was voted Miss Congeniality on Season 11 of "Drag Race," says she's a huge fan of live theater and musicals.
"My imagination was fueled by the musical theater, and since I was introduced to a nun singing in the hills of Austria when I was just a kid, I knew it was where I belonged," West said. "I knew I was a theater kid. And my love for the art and for Broadway has only grown. I am so thrilled and grateful to have these conversations with people who have inspired so many. … These are great stories and I am grateful to talk to the people who bring them to life."
The idea of Broadway Week was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. West starting using her social media platforms to keep people engaged. She donates a portion of her proceeds and tips to the Actors Fund and Broadway Cares to assist those in the entertainment industry who need assistance or relief. West always strives to have a charitable component to her work.
"The charity aspect really started when I first had a platform to stand on in Columbus," West recalled for Between The Lines earlier this year. "When I got my first big show I incorporated charity and that's been 18 years ago. After about a decade the Nina West Foundation came into place and to ensure that my giving was legitimized and seen as a tremendous value to the community. I've given to organizations all over the world
To date, the Foundation has raised over $2.5 million.
"When I was eliminated on season 11, funds came pouring in from all over the world because people were upset by my elimination," West said. "My charity fund has really been impacted and grown because of my time on 'Drag Race.'"
Broadway Week on DragCast is currently airing. The schedule is as follows: Friday, May 1, Jeanna DeWaal, Sunday, May 3, Michael J. Scott, Tuesday, May 5, Caissie Levy and Friday, May 8, Glenn Close. You can view DragCast on Spotify or at dragcast.net.