HONEY WEST

INDIVIDUAL | Inducted 2012

Honey West, 51, for more than 25 years as a cabaret singer and entertainer in Chicago nightclubs and restaurants. She has blended her transgender identity into her career, and during that career she has often performed at benefits for AIDS and other charities. She has also appeared onstage as Honey West and, as Don Auxier, in Dirty Dreams of a Clean-Cut Kid, an early AIDS musical.

Transgender entertainer Honey West has been a hit on the cabaret circuit since her debut in the 1990 one-woman show, A Taste of Honey. She has won two After Dark Awards as Chicago’s Outstanding Cabaret Entertainer as well as several other honors and accolades.

Her charm and versatility as a singer and comedian have attracted a wide and loyal following in Chicago and beyond. She has performed on cruise ships, at awards shows, for dozens of AIDS and LGBT fundraisers, and in numerous concert and cabaret venues from the Park West to Cabaret Metro, and from Gentry to Hotel Allegro. In 1997 she released the CD Take Honey West Home and seven years later released a second collection, My Big Fat Cheesy Lounge Act.

Among her many gigs, West was seen on Oprah backing up Cyndi Lauper and was crowned Ms. Morton Downey Jr. by a panel of celebrity judges on Downey’s talk show. She even performed for Julie Andrews and the company of Victor/Victoria at their gala opening-night party. West starred opposite her dear friend Alexandra Billings in the comedy Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and has been featured in dozens of stage productions such as Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding, Pussy on the House, Diva Diaries, The Musical, Music Kills a Memory, The Wizard of A.I.D.S., Sexy Baby, Applause, and Jerry’s Girls. West also performed as Don Auxier in Dirty Dreams of a Clean-Cut Kid, one of the first musicals to address the AIDS epidemic.

She has appeared in the film Velvets, which was shown at the Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, and recorded the love theme for the Judy Tenuta film Butch Camp. In addition, West hosted and was a part of special programming for Amberg Communications and LesBiGay Radio for six years. The popular entertainer has been profiled in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Poz, the Daily Herald, the Boston Herald, the New York Native, Chicago’s Reader, and other periodicals worldwide.

Throughout her long career, West has worked tirelessly to break down walls and to dispel myths and misconceptions about trans performers. She has enriched the Chicago cabaret, stage, and entertainment worlds and has used her talents to give back to LGBT communities. As co-star Alexandra Billings said, “Honey’s never said no to an AIDS benefit and never said no to a charity. She’s always been there, free of charge and giving in her spirit and her time.”

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