Actor Joey Steakley, starring in Hedwig and the Angry Inch,  says if he were a woman, he would be the dykiest girl in the world.
Actor Joey Steakley, starring in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, says if he were a woman, he would be the dykiest girl in the world.
Mark Graham

How You Doin'?

How You Doin'?
At 5-foot-8 and 115 pounds, actor Joey Steakley, 23, probably won't be playing growling hulks like Stanley Kowalski anytime soon. But having a delicate build hasn't kept Steakley, a Snyder, Texas, native and '02 SMU theater grad, from landing some heavyweight stage roles. He drew rave notices and a DFW Critics Forum award last year as the tragic transvestite trapeze artist in Barbette at Kitchen Dog Theater. Now, after a year in Chicago, he's back at KDT as the lead in the area premiere of the glam-rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch (September 6 to October 11). Playing Hedwig, a transgender East German singer dumped by her GI husband, means two hours of layering glitter and gloss before the show and almost as long scraping it off afterward. During a break in rehearsals, Steakley shared some secrets of onstage gender bending and what he's learned about women from two roles in drag.

When Dustin Hoffman did Tootsie, he said his biggest disappointment was that he wasn't a prettier woman. So, as Hedwig, are you a dish?

I think I look pretty good. It's definitely the Ziggy Stardust, glitter-rock look. But in the wig and red lipstick, I feel like the character is attractive. But it's just pounds of drag makeup, this thick blue glitter eye shadow. I wear real tomatoes for cleavage, and it's so great at the end of the show when I take them out and smash them.

Is there a complicated system of waxing and shaving involved in this nightly transformation?

Hedwig is an East German girl, so I don't have to shave anything. I don't have any chest hair anyway.

A botched sex change leaves Hedwig with that "angry inch." Do you play the character as a man or a woman?

I always refer to Hedwig as "she." But at the end of the show, she's more of a man than a woman. The message of the show is so beautiful. Hedwig is always looking for her other half. At the end she realizes we're all complete already.

Even out of makeup, you look a lot like John Cameron Mitchell, co-writer (with Stephen Trask) and star of the stage and screen versions of Hedwig.

As soon as the movie came out, I was hearing that I looked like him. That's fine. It's a dream role for me. My two dream roles are Hedwig and Hamlet. Hedwig is the first time I've been cast older than my age. The character is 28.

What are the drawbacks of being 23 and still looking like a pup?

I get carded for R-rated movies. They wouldn't let me into Freddy vs. Jason. In college, I was barely 100 pounds, and I got called ma'am a lot. It never bothered me. I know I'm skinny and pale. But it bugs my parents. At my day job in Chicago (at a garden center), some of my bosses talk to me like I'm a dumb high school kid. Both the roles I got in Chicago theaters last year were troubled teens.

The next logical role for you is, what, the emcee in Cabaret?

I'd love to do that part. Look, this is how I get cast. I look good this way. When I told people in Chicago I was doing this show, this one woman made me promise I wouldn't really get a sex change.

So as good as you are at being a girl onstage, you're happy as a boy in real life?

Definitely. The stuff women have to put up with is so much worse than anything boys have to do. All the pressure and bullshitty things about makeup and fashion. I went to Vegas recently and got nauseated by all the tarted-up women everywhere. I'd be the dykiest girl in the world. I'd never want to do makeup. Believe it or not, in real life I'm just an ordinary guy. I don't shave much, and I like to watch football. I'm pretty content being a boy. I wouldn't wish being a girl on anyone. --Elaine Liner

Never Been Kissed
We are simple men with simpler tastes. It doesn't take much to make us happy. Say, two smoking singers swapping spit on national television. Doesn't happen often, but when it does--as it did on the August 28 broadcast of MTV's Video Music Awards, when Madonna mugged down with Britney Spears, then Christina Aguilera--well, suffice to say, we savor the moment.

But we are also very greedy. One time doesn't satisfy us. We need more. So during our postshow cooldown--and it took a full two hours to recover from the made-for-TV make-out session--we started fantasizing. Taking our cue from the old "think globally, act locally" bumper stickers, we imagined, in excruciating detail, what it would be like if a few Dallas-Fort Worth hotties happened to hook up. We don't need it to happen on television; we just need it to happen. Here's our list. Feel free to make your own.

Councilwoman Dr. Elba Garcia and Channel 8 Daybreak anchorwoman Alexa Conomos

Actresses Angie Harmon and Janine Turner

WB33 news anchorwoman Terri Chappell and Fox 4 news anchorwoman Heather Hays

Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd and D magazine contributor Virginia Postrel

Any Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and any Mavs Dancer

TXCN's Mattie Roberts and WB33 reporter Victoria Snee

Singers Erykah Badu and N'Dambi

Political consultants Lisa LeMaster and Carol Reed

KEGL-FM's Cindy Scull and KLLI-FM's Liz Wilde

Monica's Aca Y Alla's Monica Greene and Cheaters' Jack E. Jett

Position: Chief of Police
Salary: Commensurate with experience + collection-plate bonus
Start date: Immediately
Want to be an "untouchable"? Are you the "me" in Crime City? There's nothing fake about this job offer: The city of Dallas is searching for a new chief of police, and you may be the perfect man (or woman, says our city attorney) for the job. There has never

been a better time to join the DPD, which has just moved into new headquarters and is enjoying a higher media profile than in any time in its recent past.

As chief of police, you will be given unprecedented leeway to run a major, progressive, compassionate crime-fighting department--or simply run it into the ground, whichever you see fit. You, as the new chief, can go nowhere but up--or down, rather, on the FBI's list of most-violent cities. You will have the support of some of the city's most vocal religious and community leaders, especially after you're fired for doing your job poorly. You will be able to dodge the blame repeatedly for scandal after scandal. You will not have to answer to anyone when things go bad. You will not have to talk to the press. You will not be responsible for maintaining

department morale--already at an all-time low! You will be able to hire and fire whomever you want, and if someone has to pay for it, it will be the city, not you. You will be able to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation--or not, your call!

As chief of police, you will work closely with the city manager, who will be open and honest in his dealings with the chief. You will work closely with the mayor and the city council, who serve no agendas other than those of their constituents. This is an exciting time for the Dallas Police Department, and we're looking for qualified candidates to put the blue back in the black. Send résumés, real or otherwise, to Ted Benavides, City Manager, Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St., Room 4EN, Dallas, TX 75201, 214-670-3296, (fax) 214-670-3946.


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