Jun 20, 2019
Jun 29, 2019

Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes

By The Bearded Ladies Cabaret

a black arrow pointing downward

Cake, coffin, gavel, choir, composers, live musical trolling!

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the much lauded homo poet Walt Whitman's birth and the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret is throwing a pageant for the ancestors.  Part trial, part birthday, part funeral, this spectacle will feature original music performed by a host of misfits, drag artists, queers, and a local choir.  Come with friends, complaints, heroes and villains alike.  All are welcome to the death, birth, and reckoning of the great poet.

“Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose”
~ Walt Whitman

Part of the Stonewall 50 Celebration!

Join multiple generations of queer performers as they pose questions, honor legacies and ignite the present. See 3 Shows for only $55!

performer wearing fishnets sitting on a counter in a dressing room

Directed & Written by John Jarboe (she/he)
Original Compositions by Heath Allen, Emily Bate, Daniel de Jesús, and Pax Ressler
Featuring the Whitman Choir and Josh Machiz (he/him)

Set Design by William Boles (he/him)
Lighting Design by Reza Behjat (he/him)
Choreography by Jumatatu Poe (he/him)
Costume Design by Tyler Mark Holland (he/him)
Sound Design by Daniel Perelstein (he/him)
Props Design by Sara Outing (she/her)
Dramaturgy by Sally Ollove (she/her)
Stage Management by Nic Labadie-Bartz (they/them)
Production Management by Calvin Anderson (he/they)
Assistant Stage Manager: Melody Wong (she/her)
Assistant Costume Design: Scott McMaster (they/them)
Assistant Stage Manager (New York): Ilana Khanin (she/her)
Associate Lighting Designer: Baxter Pitt (they/them)
Technical Director (New York): Briana Abbott (they/them)
Drummer (New York): Nick Wight (he/him)

Daniel de Jesús (he/she/they), Elah Perelman (they/them), Jackie Soro (she/her), Pax Ressler (they/them),
Veronica Chapman-Smith (she/her), Fernando Contreras (he/him) and Emily Bate (she/her)

Contradict This! was originally commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries for Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, a series of cultural events marking Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday. Original support for Whitman at 200 artistic commissions was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


The Bearded Ladies Cabaret is a Philadelphia-based troupe of cabaret artists who fuse cabaret and theater to tackle the politics of gender, identity, and artistic invention with sparkle and wit. Cabaret, a unique blend of popular and ‘high’ art, lends itself particularly well to artistic exploration of contemporary issues. Through our interdisciplinary productions, which draw from traditional theatre, cabaret, opera, dance, and art installation, The Bearded Ladies create unique satirical “caba-plays” which combine the irreverence and audience interaction of traditional cabaret with the attention to narrative and character of traditional theatre and opera.

In our seven year history, we have collaborated with the Wilma Theater, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel Center, Washington College, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Opera Philadelphia, FringeArts, and Eastern State Penitentiary to bring our unique form of cabaret to more than 10,000 residents of Philadelphia per year. We are proud to be among Philadelphia’s most visible queer arts companies. To date, we have created 14 full-length cabarets, as well as numerous commissions. We have brought our unique cabaret revolution to Poland, Seattle (Seattle Symphony), Paris (Madame Arthur), Provincetown, Cambridge (ART/Oberon), Miami (Miami Light Project), New York City (Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, and La Mama), and, of course our beloved mid-Atlantic.

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La MaMa Presents The NY Premiere Of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret’s ‘Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral For Heroes’


“An experimental cabaret troupe”
The New York Times

“daringly incendiary brand of queer cabaret”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“consistently creative, dynamic and visually compelling.”
Opera News

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