Review: ‘I, Candy: Peppermint Live in Concert with Cazwell’ at the Gramercy Theatre

What better way to kick off Stonewall50/WorldPride weekend than with the return of the sensational Peppermint to the live concert stage for the first time in a decade? None, bitch! I, Candy: Peppermint Live in Concert with Cazwell, a one-night-only event in the intimate space of Off-Broadway’s Gramercy Theatre, had it all – a spectacular array of glam costumes, colorful lighting, personal anecdotes, and kick-ass music by the sparkling star and her friends, in an evening filled with audacious humor, heartfelt tenderness, stirring passion, and amazing talent.

Peppermint and company. Photo by Deb Miller.

Joined by a terrific company of longtime BFFs and collaborators, all of whom she graciously introduced and acknowledged (a live four-piece rock band, a tantalizing troupe of four male dancers, two featured back-up singers, and special guest Cazwell), Peppermint expertly worked the room, talking directly to the audience, looking and pointing at her adoring fans, walking off the stage and around the seats for up-close encounters and photo ops, and encouraging everyone to show people the love, kindness, and respect we all deserve – an especially significant message during this celebration of a half-century of growing LGBTQIA+ liberation and awareness.

Peppermint and Cazwell. Photo by Deb Miller.

The concert event, sponsored by MAC cosmetics, included a killer set by indie hip-hop artist Cazwell, who warmed up the crowd with his phenomenal You Tube hits “All Over Your Face,” “I Seen Beyoncé At Burger King,” “Rice & Beans,” and his vow to “make America femme again” in his rousing “Loose Wrists.” Peppermint then wowed the house with her astonishing range, expressive vocals, and extraordinary stage presence in a selection of old favorites and new numbers, from the hilariously saucy “Put a Dollar in My Titty” and “I’m Servin’ It Up” to her latest romantic ballads, like the sweet and emotional “Caught Between Your Love and A Hard Place.” For the finale, the two old friends joined together in a meaningful duet on the anthemic “Blend” – a perfect and timely way to close a perfect and timely night.

Between numbers, the thoroughly irresistible and charming Peppermint openly shared funny, touching, and sincere stories about her life-changing appearance on the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, her Broadway debut in Head over Heels (the first transgender woman to be featured in a principal role on Broadway), and her struggles with finding true love as a trans person of color, all spoken with the natural comfort and candor of the born entertainer that she is. She also presented the world-premiere screening of the video #LIFTEMUP – a group collaboration with Greko, Sharon Needles, Amanda Lepore, and Debbie Harry (who was in attendance at the Gramercy) – with streaming proceeds to be donated to LGBTQIA+ charities around the world.

If you missed this smashing sole performance of I, Candy: Peppermint Live in Concert with Cazwell, you can keep an eye out for her upcoming album and their new series of podcasts, contribute to world pride by streaming #LIFTEMUP, and anticipate more delectable live stage appearances by Peppermint in the near future.

Running Time: Two hours and 45 minutes, without intermission.

Photo by Karl Giant.

I, Candy: Peppermint Live in Concert with Cazwell played Friday, June 28, 2019, at the Gramercy Theatre – 127 East 23rd Street, NYC.