Press Releases

2012 The Bearded Ladies Cabaret

October, 2012
Contact: Johnny Van Heest, Public Relations Manager
215.893.9456 ext. 102 |

The Bearded Ladies Cabaret are back again this season with new performances at The Wilma Theater and the opening of The 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of The Arts

– The Wilma Theater, home of the critically-acclaimed cabaret The Bearded Ladies, is pleased to announce the return of the gender-bending troupe for the 2012/2013 season.   After a busy summer which included appearances at Bastille Day, Art After 5, and the opening of the Rodin Museum, The Bearded Ladies will return to the Wilma December 5 – 8 and December 12 – 15 with their original cabaret, Marlene and The MachineMarlene and The Machine combines the music of Marlene Dietrich and Lotte Lenya with the visual language of German Expressionism.  Audiences will enter a shadowy, atonal world in which The Bearded Ladies blur the lines between human, music, and machine.  Elaborate cardboard cityscapes, live recreations of expressionist films as well as a host of familiar songs all sung just a little off-key will mark this late-night event.

The Bearded Ladies were honored to be one of the 35 winners of the 2012 Knight Arts Challenge, Knight Foundation’s program to fund the best ideas for engaging and enriching Philadelphia through the arts.  Their project, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret Revolution, is a year long, city-wide invasion of bold, innovative, and intimate theatre through a series of original cabarets, street performances, and collaborations with local visual and performance artists.  The Cabaret Revolution shows will be affordable, and include street theater marketing efforts designed to bring a whole new audience to theater and to Broad Street.  Marlene and The Machine is the first Knight Arts sponsored show.  Look for The Bearded Ladies as they take songs and scenes from the show to the street in November.

With the support of Knight Foundation, The Bearded Ladies will perform another original cabaret at the Wilma in July, 2013 which will then tour throughout the greater Philadelphia region. The Bearded Ladies are thrilled to perform at The Philadelphia International Festival of The Arts (PIFA) opening night, on March 28, 2013.  PIFA brings Philadelphia’s arts and culture organizations together for 30 days through artistic interpretations of If You Had a Time Machine?.  The Bearded Ladies will perform a re-envisioned version of the audience favorite, Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret, co-produced by PIFA 2013.  It is a divided cabaret for a divided time, a battle of bands through one hundred and fifty years of music.  Wide Awake, will feature special guest artist James Ijames, and pits Dixie, a ten foot tall southern bell in the world’s largest dress, against a slew of Northern characters dredged up from history.

 “We hope to create accessible spaces where Philadelphia can laugh at and question itself,” says Bearded Ladies Artistic Director, John Jarboe.  He adds, “and we plan to do all of this with wit and a lot of cardboard.”  In June, The Bearded Ladies began raising funds to match their grant from Knight’s foundation through a Kickstarter Campaign, which they successfully completed in late July.

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

Tickets for Marlene and the Machine will be $20 for seats or $25 for tables and will include an ‘all-you-can-drink’ cocktail special.  Contact The Wilma Theater box office at 215.546.7824 for tickets or tickets can be purchased at the door (if not sold out).

Show Dates and Times:
Wednesday, December 5: 8:00pm
Thursday, December 6: 10:00pm
Friday, December 7:  10:00pm
Saturday, December 8 (2 SHOWS): SHOW 1: 8:00pm; SHOW 2: 10:00pm

Wednesday, December 12: 8:00pm
Thursday, December 13: 10:00pm
Friday, December 14: 10:00pm
Saturday, December 15 (2 SHOWS): SHOW 1: 8:00pm; SHOW 2: 10:00pm

Collaboratively Created and Performed by The Bearded Ladies:
Heath Allen, Kristen Bailey, Liz Filios, John Jarboe, Rebecca Kanach, and Mary Tuomanen, with special guest artists Kathryn Raines for Marlene and the Machine and James Ijames for Wide Awake

Mission Statement
The Wilma Theater creates living, adventurous art. We engage artists and audiences in imaginative reflection on the complexities of contemporary life. We present bold, original, well-crafted productions that represent a range of voices, viewpoints and styles.