After J. Harrison Ghee made history as the first openly nonbinary winner for Best Lead Actor in a Musical for their role in “Some Like It Hot,” they, and several of their castmates, took a trip to the White House.
Ghee, Adrianna Hicks and Tony nominees NaTasha Yvette Williams and Kevin Del Aguila met with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. The group discussed visibility and representation for trans and nonbinary people as part of the Biden administration’s celebration of Pride month, which includes highlighting voices in the LGBTQ+ community throughout June. In “Some Like It Hot,” Ghee’s character is first known as Jerry, but discovers another piece of himself throughout the musical’s journey, illustrating an expansion of gender identity and self. “Some Like It Hot” is one of two Broadway musicals this past season featuring an openly nonbinary character.
The visiting cast members also spoke with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff during their visit, which included a tour of the White House.
In an Instagram post documenting Ghee’s experience, they said, “I’m humbled and honored to be here today at the White House after having just won my first Tony Award. This moment of visibility, of representation, it means everything — not just for the industry of entertainment and art and removing boundaries and labels and limits, but really for society.”
“As an artist, Toni Morrison said, ‘Our art can be effective and beautiful at the same time,’” Ghee continued. “And so with my art, I hope to be intentionally walking in my purpose and doing it all with love and sharing that with audiences eight times a week and making a difference and making people leave the theater a little differently than when they came.”
While the visit was planned before Ghee took home a trophy at Sunday’s ceremony, it served as an extra celebration as White House staffers congratulated Ghee and company throughout their visit. “Some Like It Hot” won four Tonys, including Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations and Best Costume Design of a Musical.