From playing Frankie on Fellow Travelers to Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby on Broadway, Noah J. Ricketts has become quite the time traveler, playing period piece perfection.

In Fellow Travelers, Ricketts was a scene-stealer as Frankie, a drag artist who was part of the group of gay men which the Showtime series followed from the 1950s Lavender Scare, through the emergence of HIV/AIDS in the ‘80s.

Previously, Ricketts had appeared in other series like High Fidelity and American Gods, but Fellow Travelers was the first time he would be playing a drag queen, a moment he recalled while on The Drew Barrymore Show with the rest of the Fellow Travelers cast.

“It was pretty wild. The first time I was in full drag was the day of my screen test,” Ricketts told Drew Barrymore Show co-host, Ross Mathews. “I remember walking down the hallway to the set and I had been in makeup and hair for so long, I totally forgot what I looked like.”

He continued, “So I’m walking, and my heels are clacking on the ground, and all of a sudden everything stops and everyone looks at me. And I’m like, oh God I’m getting fired, and then I realized, oh no, they’re enthralled by my beautiful presence. And I felt the sensation of how powerful it is to be a drag queen, and to capture the attention of an entire room. It was an experience I’ll never forget.” 

“I love Frankie, I love that even in the ‘50s he paints his nails and pulls his hair back, and unapologetically is himself,” he added.

In one Fellow Travelers scene, Ricketts sang “Santa Baby,” sleighing (ahem) the holiday standard, but the stage and screen actor is no stranger to showing off his impressive vocal range.

In addition to roles on television, he previously played Kristoff in the Broadway adaptation of Disney’s Frozen, and he was also in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, appearing in both the Broadway and touring companies. His latest role takes him back to the “roaring ‘20s” as Nick Carraway, the sexually ambiguous narrator of The Great Gatsby, in a new Broadway musical adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic novel.

Ricketts might be busy on Broadway, but he will also appear in the upcoming short film, 808. Directed by Sierra Schnack, the short is about “unmitigated joy in queer nightlife and the reality of choosing happiness over safety.” He also proved he has the range when he was featured in the cast of the 2023 gay horror comedy, Summoning Sylvia.

In an interview with Edge Media Network, Ricketts said playing Frankie was revolutionary in Fellow Travelers “because it is the black and brown drag queens, trans women that are responsible for this gay liberation movement that we experience today. So getting to put those heels away and fight the good fight was an awesome experience.”

He might be giving viewers a crash course in queer history, but Ricketts is the future of queer actors proudly stepping into the spotlight.

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