A GoPride Interview

Miz Cracker

Miz Cracker cruises her way to the Big Gay Cabaret in May

Sun. April 14, 2024  by Jerry Nunn

I speak five languages English, French, Wolof, Spanish and a little Yiddish.
Miz Cracker

miz cracker

photo credit // joshua going

Cracker comes to slay in Chicago this May

May flowers are blooming for Miz Cracker’s act in Chicago and everything is coming up roses at the Big Gay Cabaret. Cracker is racing into town to sing a song and tell a story or two at The Venus Cabaret, 3741 North Southport Avenue.

This talented drag queen from New York City rose to fame during RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 and placed fifth in the competition. She returned to the franchise on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and ended up as runner-up.

Cracker was born into the world as Maxwell Heller in Seattle and eventually studied at The Evergreen State College. After a chance encounter with Bob the Drag Queen, Heller was taken under Bob’s wing to school him in drag.

He cooks, writes and black belt karate chops to keep himself busy these days. Producing and curating one-woman shows as the persona of Miz Cracker is what she was born to do and chatted about it before her arrival in the Windy City.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) The last time we spoke the pandemic derailed your plans to tour to Chicago. Have you spent much time in the Windy City before?

MC: (Miz Cracker) Yes. I have spent a lot of time in Chicago. I love it there!

JN: How did find out about the Big Gay Cabaret in the first place?

MC: Ginger Minj reached out to me. I have worked with the team there a lot and I thought it would be wonderful to do another project like this.

JN: I like how they are making a strong cabaret space here with the programming and booking artists. Have you performed with a cabaret-style in the past?

MC: Yes. It is a staple for me having done many one-woman shows all over where I tell people about my life.

JN: Is there a cabaret performer that has inspired you?

MC: I watch cabaret performances all the time in New York. There is a performer here named Larry Darnell Penn Whitfield and he does amazing cabaret shows. He’s a friend of mine and always inspires me to perform more cabaret.

JN: Cafe Carlyle is the main cabaret space in New York isn’t it?

MC: Yes, that’s right.

JN: Do you have stories planned to tell during your show?

MC: Absolutely. Yes, stories, dance numbers, a mix of things.

JN: Are there any cover songs that you are excited about to perform?

MC: There are many that are mixed through and clipped small, so you will see.

JN: Is there a Broadway show that you would like to star in one day?

MC: Company.

JN: Good choice! Are any RuPaul Drag Race surprise guests from Chicago planned?

MC: It would be either Shea Coulee or The Vixen, but I think they are both out of town at that time.

JN: What’s a fun fact about yourself that the public would be surprised by?

MC: Last time we talked about karate… well, I speak five languages English, French, Wolof, Spanish and a little Yiddish.

JN: Is there a family member or famous person who inspired the Miz Cracker persona?

MC: No, she comes out of me completely. I am inspired by many people but this character comes out of me.

JN: Have you read RuPaul’s new book The House of Hidden Meanings yet?

MC: Absolutely not.

JN: What are your thoughts on how RuPaul’s Drag Race has evolved since your season?

MC: Well, it continues to promote a variety of different kinds and genres of drag across the franchise. I think it is very important that it is evolving in that way.

JN: Do you have a favorite out of the current season’s top three contestants?

MC: Is there a season going on right now?

JN: [laughs] So you aren’t watching it? I just interviewed Heidi N Closet and Crystal Methyl for their new project Slay. They have kept up with all of the various RuPaul shows.

MC: Oh, I know. They really do.

JN: Heidi was really good at improvising in the moment. Is there a lot of interaction with the audience planned for your cabaret act?

MC: Yes, I always talk to my audience and encourage them to talk back.

JN: Talk about your recent time with Madonna onstage for The Celebration Tour.

MC: It was so much fun and I did it two nights in a row. The first night I was really nervous and had no idea what I was going on, but the second night I was able to relax and experience being in a concert with Madonna.

JN: Did Bob the Drag Queen ask you or how were you asked to participate?

MC: Madonna’s people contacted the agency I work with. It was lucky and wonderful!

JN: Bob had to leave HBO’s We’re Here this season because of traveling on the Madonna tour. Did you consider trying out for the show?

MC: Well, I wouldn’t turn down an HBO check, you know, but I didn’t audition for it.

JN: Name your favorite Jewish performer.

MC: I was really into Sarah Silverman in the past, but now I like Rachel Bloom.

JN: I recently discovered through DNA testing that I am 1.6 percent Jewish.

MC: Welcome!

JN: Thank you. Do you have any advice?

MC: Yes. Learn as much as you can about the culture because it is important that it’s not forgotten.

JN: What are your plans for your act after you leave Chicago?

MC: I would like to take it to Provincetown. We will see what happens.

JN: What goals would you still like to accomplish with Miz Cracker?

MC: Make a bunch of money, because I did everything else! [laughs]

JN: What about writing a book?

MB: I don’t know who would buy it but I started one during the pandemic. I got 30,000 words in, which is a lot, then I stopped after thinking, “No one wants to read this!”

JN: It can be a daunting task.

MB: Bird by Bird.

JN: I love that book! What would you tell future drag queens auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race?

MB: Get ready to fight for your life because there is a whole lot of you!


Polly want a Miz Cracker? See her live at The Venus Cabaret on May 10, 11 and 12, 2024, with tickets at biggaycabaret.com.


Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.