This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Every Christmas, Jason CoZmo's grandfather would jokingly ask Santa for a life-size doll of his favorite singer, Dolly Parton.
CoZmo, years after his grandfather's passing, has granted that wish in an unexpected way.
The Utah native makes a living impersonating the country legend, and he's bringing his show to The State Room in Salt Lake City this weekend.
CoZmo will impersonate Parton, Liza Minnelli and Julie Andrews during his holiday show, "Christmas with the Starz." He lip-syncs all of the songs and the monologues of his characters, but he breaks the fourth wall to interact with audience members and do some stand-up comedy.
"I am a gay man, but the show is not gay or political or religious, it's much more of a family show, with stand-up comedy, music and interaction," CoZmo said. "The audience has everyone in it the Mormon bishop and his wife, little old drunk ladies, gays, grandparents and drag queens. It appeals to everyone."
CoZmo, née Jason Zambos, was born and raised in Magna, and after high school, he opted not to take a full-ride scholarship to Weber State University and instead worked at Disneyland portraying the Mad Hatter. He moved into professional theater and some film, but one night, he happened across a drag contest and he figured he could make more money winning that than he could in a weekend waiting tables.
After that, he toured as an impersonator to places such as Palm Springs, New York City and Atlantic City. His costumes are professional replicas, ranging in cost from $600 to about $1,200. His signature character, Parton, has garnered him much attention. A few years ago, his photo was one of four presented to the actual country singer on "Good Morning America" the other three were of Parton herself and two women impersonators. She couldn't pick her own face from the four, she said. While CoZmo hasn't met Parton, many of the people who work for her have seen his show, and he hopes to meet her someday.
CoZmo has been touring with his show for three years, and he has visited Salt Lake City in the past, usually performing at Club 90 or Piper Down, but he wanted to take the show out of a bar setting.
The State Room has hosted shows outside of its usual live music concerts, but this is the first of its kind at the venue, according to owner Chris Mautz.
"Jason is such a dynamic personality and performer," Mautz said. "I think the venue itself is ideal for this type of thing with the standing and dance floor or seated. And one of the important goals of The State Room is to have an audience with as wide of a spectrum as possible."
CoZmo said he hopes his show, which will feature his partner, David Lorence, impersonating Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, takes hold with the audience at The State Room now and in the future.
"People come not knowing what to expect, but they all leave thinking they've seen a high-end Broadway or Vegas show," CoZmo said. "People come for different reasons, but everyone has a good time. It's really cool to bring that many different people all together."
Jason CoZmo's 'Christmas with the Starz'
When • Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where • The State Room, 638 S. State St., Salt Lake City
Tickets • $20, $25 at the door; thestateroom.com