Theatre performer Sis (a.k.a Sis Thee Doll) is thee definition of a rising star. We’re partially referring to her legendaric, history-making behavior as the first Black trans woman to ever lead a Broadway national tour, playing Ado Annie in the touring production of Oklahoma! in 2021 and 2022. Moreover, we’re referring to her activism, independence, and readiness to use the strength of both her talent and her identity to empower herself and others.
As far as star quality, let’s check the résumé: There’s Oklahoma!, of course, as well as her turn in the latest season of American Horror Story as “Dunaway”, a glamorous dame managing an exclusive gay club. She gave a particularly sisterly performance in Dylan Mulvaney’s Day 365 Live! variety show earlier this year and had a spooky guest spot in the improv murder mystery series Foul Play with other young theater faves like Andrew Barth Feldman and Celia Rose Gooding.
Most impressive may be the opportunities she’s created for herself. In just the past few years, Sis has put on a whole host of shows of her own: her digital 2020 work Our Offering explored identity and community with the help of dozens of ensemble members like Reneé Rapp and Jai’Len Josey, her 54 Below shows Sisgendered and Sismas put her talent at the forefront, and her streaming series Living For Sis! features interviews, skits, and musical performances with the titular doll. If those weren’t enough, her upcoming A Doll Named Sis show is set to go coast-to-coast this summer.
“If you’re going to do something, you need to do it well,” the actress told INTO late last year. “If you’re going to do something, you need to pull out every stop and you need to be the baddest bitch to do it…it’s never being in competition with other people, it’s being in competition with yourself.”
Trans and nonbinary performers have been taking names on Broadway more as of late than ever before; Angelica Ross and Jinkx Monsoon each recently had starring turns in Chicago, J. Harrison Ghee is up for a Tony for their leading role in Some Like It Hot, and Alex Newell is likewise nominated for their featured role in Shucked. This most recent wave of trans talent thriving onstage isn’t one that Sis is hopping on – it’s one that she’s put in work to help create.
In September 2021, Sis organized the Trans March on Broadway, a protest advocating for trans and nonbinary creatives in the theatre sphere in direct response to transphobic remarks from a longstanding (read here: old cis white male) theatre producer. Joined by fellow Broadway names like Head Over Heels actress Peppermint and costume designer Qween Jean, Sis led supporters from Central Park through to Schubert Alley on Broadway, demanding visibility and respect all along the way.
As much as we love Sis for her performances and personality, it’s that kind of genuine activism that helps make her so compelling. In June of 2020, she founded The Next Generation Project, an organization intended to help connect trans people of color to resources like mental health care and scholarship funds. This organization was the genesis of the Our Offering show, the proceeds of which went to The Next Generation Project in full.
Sis has also since founded Thee Open House Project, a resource for low income artists and audience members in the theatre sphere. The group works to make theatre more accessible to folks of different financial backgrounds through ticket giveaways to shows, industry-focused workshops for creatives, and more.
From protesting in the streets and helping organize locally to racking up representation firsts (all with a pandemic raging in the background, mind you), Sis has quickly made a place for herself at the table. She’s putting in the work for her communities, making her name into a whole brand, and sounding incredible while doing it.