TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Welcome to 9 Questions with…, an exclusive Spectrum Bay News 9 feature in which we get to know some of the Bay area’s movers and shakers a little better. It could be a politician, an artist, a first responder, a bartender—just about anyone, really. This week’s subject is veteran actor, comic and drag queen Matthew McGee, whose charismatic and caring presence is well-known to Bay area theater and nightclub audiences. Is there someone you’d like to answer 9 Questions? Let us know!

What You Need To Know

  • Spectrum Bay News 9's series spotlights notable members of the Tampa Bay community

  • Matthew McGee is famous for gags and drag

  • Check back every week for a new "9 Questions with..."

Are you a Tampa Bay native? If not, where are you from? 

I was born in Augusta, GA (Home of The Masters and James Brown) and grew up in a small town called Washington, GA. I moved to Tampa Bay in 2001 from New York City.

How would you describe your job or claim to fame? 

I think Creative Loafing once deemed me "Most Joyous Comic Presence" and I was once called "Tampa Bay's favorite Clown in a Gown" in some other publication that has escaped me. I think those are very nice! I'm also in charge of communications at freeFall Theatre in St. Petersburg. Maybe I'm the hardest working man and woman in show business. 

(Thee Photo Ninja)

What’s your favorite Tampa Bay restaurant? 

I love Goody Goody! I think my favorite item on the menu is the butterscotch pie. 

Do you have a personal Tampa Bay “secret spot” and/or “hidden treasure”? 

In Al Lopez Park, there is a wooden bridge/slash trail that I always take the dogs on. It's right in the middle of the woods and feels very much like I'm on the Forest Moon of Endor. I rarely see anyone else on it. 

What is your favorite Tampa Bay tradition? 

I really enjoy when all of the local theater companies announce their seasons in the fall. It's so exciting! freeFall's 2021/2022 season will be announced very soon. People can visit the website and subscribe. 

What’s one thing many people don’t know about you that you’re willing to share with us?

I'm addicted to watching Japanese candy making videos, like this one.

If you could change one thing about the Tampa Bay area or your community specifically, what would it be? 

Better public transportation! I work on both sides of the bay and I hate sitting in traffic for hours. 

Has the COVID resurgence changed your thoughts regarding performance? Do you see a return to virtual or hybrid virtual/live events? 

I think so many theaters did what they could during the shutdown with varying degrees of success. While I worry about the variants, I think all Tampa Bay theater companies will work very hard to continue to keep patrons, performers and staff safe while continuing to be innovative and inclusive. 

What’s on the horizon for you? 

I'm about to be in American Stage's world-premiere production of The People Downstairs by local playwright Natalie Symons in September and play Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express at Stageworks in 2022. Already shaping up to be a busy year. It's also been exciting to work with my agents at Level Talent Group on film/tv projects like Life's Rewards on Amazon Prime.