Todrick Hall hasn’t performed live in almost two years. Utah Pride marks his return to the stage, and he is eager to get to Salt Lake City and have some fun.
“I want to be a part of the solution of corrupting the Utah gays,” he joked. “It’s such a religious state. Let them have a good time. Let them party.”
Welcome to Toddy land
Hall is bringing his act to town on Friday, June 4, for a benefit for the Utah Pride Center. (Tickets are available at skyfall.ticketspice.com/pride.) It’s titled “Loud + Queer: Pride Spectacular,” and ticket buyers “can expect a lot of glitter, a lot of sequins, a lot of costumes,” he said with a laugh. There’ll be a catwalk, giant LED screens, CO2 cannons, confetti blasts and more.
Not to mention the music — all written by Hall.
“We have numbers that literally crack people up laughing. We have numbers that make people want to dance,” he said. “And there are moments that are very emotional. It’s fun, high energy, but there’s meat to it as well.”
Hall is excited to be “living in a world right now where so many people are embracing the LGBTQ community in a way that they never have before.” Embracing him, his music and his performances.
Even young fans, who he’s surprised to see at his live shows.
“I would probably not bring a 6-year-old, but there are 6-year-olds there. And I think that they see through some of the naughty language and understand the uplifting, inspirational parts of my show,” he said.
(A lot of his music is NSFW, although he records G-rated versions of his songs. And he recently teamed up with Brandy for a musical Disney+ promo for the 1997 version of “Cinderella” that’s on the streaming service.)
Hall’s show is not just for members of the LGBTQ community.
“I want to open up Toddy land and let everybody be welcome,” he said. “I don’t just make music for gay people. In fact, most of the people who come to my audience are young, cis, straight, white women. Teenage girls that just love to feel fabulous.”
The Utah Connection, Part 1: A Strange Relationship
Hall said he has a “strange relationship with Utah.” He lived in St. George for a while; his dentist is in Salt Lake City; and “there’s so many dance studios there that dance to my songs. I don’t know how they dance to them with the language that’s in them.”
And, he said, he’s “begged and begged and begged” to book tour dates in Utah “because I just love the people there. And I see so many people support my music.” But finding venues has been a problem.
He last performed here in 2019 at the Rose Wagner, which seats about 500. “And I’ve never gotten so many DMs from the Utah gays, upset that they couldn’t get into the concert,” Hall said.
(His upcoming performance will be at the Union Event Center, which has a capacity of 3,500.)
“Already my social media has been blowing up with so many people [from Utah], just very lit about the idea that we’re getting to celebrate Pride together.”
The Utah Connection, Part 2: Todrick at Tuacahn
Hall was himself a temporary Utahn for about six months. Back in 2006, he performed at Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Ivins — he was in the ensemble for productions of “Peter Pan” and “South Pacific” — and lived in St. George.
“I was also just obsessed with the movie ‘High School Musical,’ and so I just thought, ‘Oh, if I take this job, I’ll maybe be knocking out two birds with one stone.”
He was hoping to maybe run into “HSM” director Kenny Ortega, choreographer Bonnie Story “or any of those people that work on those movies. And maybe I’ll be in the next ‘High School Musical’ movie. That did not actually happen,” he said with a laugh. “But I did make a lot of really, really great connections there.”
On men and ‘Mormons’
While he was performing at Tuacahn, Hall was introduced to Utah’s predominant religion. And he has only good things to say about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I got to learn a lot about the religion,” Hall said. “I just really respected the people because they took their religion very seriously. And I appreciated my time there.
“I don’t know that I would be going back to the Mormon church, but I had a great one-time visit,” he said with a laugh.
An added benefit: “When I went to see ‘Book of Mormon’ on Broadway, I felt very in the know.”
“I don’t know if I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but I just find people from Utah to be, like, extremely attractive,” Hall said. “I just got into a relationship, so I’m not shopping for future husbands when I go there. But I just love the energy and the moral and ethical compass I feel like most of the guys that I’ve met from Utah operate on.
“They’re just really sweet, sweet guys, typically, and they’re just so good looking.”
Hall grew up in “the butt crack of the Bible Belt” – Plainview, Texas — “so I feel like I identify a lot with people who live in Utah,” Hall said. “Texas is known for being super, super, uber conservative. And so is Utah.” He understands “the struggles of people who are growing up with such strong religious and societal pressure.”
That’s a big part of the reason he’s determined to build a long-term relationship with Utah. He’d like to make performing here an annual tradition — whether it’s for Pride, on tour or on stage.
“I’ve been telling my agent that I really, really want to perform in Utah as much as I possibly can,” Hall said. “I feel like they are going to appreciate it so much more.” Plus, “we know Utah loves musicals!”
The ultimate multi-hyphenate
Hall is singer-songwriter-rapper-actor-director-choreographer-costume designer-set designer-YouTuber — but that was by necessity.
“Honestly, the world not being so accepting has made me stronger,” he said. “In the beginning, a lot of people weren’t willing to touch my videos or didn’t want to choreograph for me.”
Hall first attracted national attention in 2010, when he made the top 16 in Season 9 of “American Idol.” He has performed on Broadway in shows like “The Color Purple,” “Memphis: The Musical,” and “Kinky Boots.” He has been a judge and choreographer on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” He has released a lot of music, including four studio albums — “Somebody’s Christmas,” “Straight Outta Oz,” “Forbidden” and “Quarantine Queen” — and he’s got a new one, “Femuline,” set to drop on June 8.
But it was his YouTube videos, original songs and musicals that catapulted him to pop culture fame. MTV even made a reality show about Hall’s video-making process in 2015.
“I always feel like I have so much to prove,” he said. Hall has often questioned his own seat at the table, fueling his need “to show up with more dancers and a bigger show and be [better] rehearsed, because not a lot of people who look like me get these opportunities.”
He has millions of followers on social media — although some of them have been “legitimately afraid” to have pictures taken with Hall for fear they’ll be posted on social media and “they snuck away from their conservative families to come to my concert,” he says.
“And then the next year they come, and they’re so excited to tell me that they came out of the closet. The next year they have a boyfriend. And the next year, they’re married and they have dogs.”
That’s something he has seen happen “over and over and over again” — and something he understands from his own life. Hall came out when he was 15, and he has had to teach himself whatever skills are necessary for each new step in his career. He is brash and bold, outspoken and outrageous — yet his “severe case of imposter syndrome” persists.
Now, Hall’s desire to prove himself is “to represent for my community.” And, reflecting on his fans’ evolution alongside his own, it’s paying off.
“It legitimately gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes to watch how my music has helped inspire these people to feel more confident, to come out and tell their families and friends and loved ones and coworkers who they are, what they stand for.”
On with the show
In addition to headliner Todrick Hall, Loud + Queer: Pride Spectacular will feature drag performers Silver Vom Blosh, Ivy Dior Stephens and Savannah Van Cartier, pole dancers Roary Hollace and Shay Williamson, dancers Misha Chandler and Callieco, and DJ Marco Da Silva — among others.
Tickets for the 18-plus event range from $55 to $95 and are available online at skyfall.ticketspice.com/pride. Doors at the Union Event Center at 235 N. 500 West open at 7 p.m.; the show begins at 8 p.m.