"An always daringly incendiary brand of queer cabaret." –Philly Weekly


Theater! Gender! Cardboard!

Group Pre-Show Ritual

Image c/o Christopher Ash

an experimental cabaret group devoted to exploiting all the possibilities of intimate, homemade theater through beautiful songs, tricked-out costume changes, drag, and virtuosic prop construction.

With wit and sparkle we tackle the politics of popular culture, sex, gender, and artistic invention. They have been called “wildly entertaining” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “talented singers and comic actors” by the Huffington Post, and “a little over the top” by Aunt Patty and Uncle Marv, who happened to be in town for the weekend visiting the Johnsons.

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John Jarboe


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John Jarboe is the founder of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret company and its Artistic Director. A Philadelphia-based theatre artist, John graduated from the University of Michigan, with a BFA in Theatre.

In addition to directing, choreographing, producing and performing with the Beards, John finds time to collaborate outside the cabaret world as an actor, musician, teaching artist and consultant. She volunteers for Attic Youth, a local center that creates opportunities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth in Philadelphia.

John appeared locally with The Walnut Street Theatre (A Christmas Carol, Love Story, Vincent In Brixton, Arsenic & Old Lace), Theatre Exile (Cock), People’s Light and Theatre (The Rainmaker), Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre (Hamlet, As You Like It) and The Wilma (Macbeth). Some favorite work includes turns as Julia Child in Inside Julia Child (Philly Fringe) and as the title role in The Green Fairy Cabaret (Philly School of Circus and Kimmel Center) which she wrote and performed in as part of the inaugural Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). She collaborated with Applied Mechanics Theatre Company in Portmanteau, Vainglorious, Overseers and Some Other Mettle, and was a recipient of the 2013 Performing Arts Fellowship from the Independence Foundation.

Sally Ollove


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Sally Ollove is a freelance director and dramaturg who splits her time between Philadelphia and Seattle.

In addition to the Bearded Ladies, she is the resident dramaturg at Azuka Theatre. Formerly the Literary Manager at Arden Theatre Company, in Philadelphia, she has also worked worked with Theatre Exile, Gas & Electric Arts, and Philadelphia Theatre Company among others. Sally is a graduate of the ART/MXAT Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard and a member of the 2011 Director’s Lab at Lincoln Center.

Heath Allen


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Heath Allen, the bearded bandleader, has been an active musician, composer, director and theater worker in Philadelphia since 1975.

He was a co-founder/music director for Big Small Theater in the 1970/80’s and has written or co-written over 30 plays and musicals. Musical highlights include performing with numerous jazz greats including Cecil Taylor and Philly Joe Jones; composing and performing the music for many choreographers including Karen Bamonte (Red/Blue…shift, Landscape of Love) and Melanie Stewart (The Gathering) and music directing Warren Muller’s Patsy’s Living Room.

Besides serving as music director and pianist for the Bearded Ladies, Heath continues to lead one of Philadelphia’s premiere party bands–the Heath Allen Band; serves as accordionist/arranger for the French music band Philly Musette, keyboardist/music director for the Ken Ulansey Ensembles, keyboardist/music director for the children’s music band The Cats Pajamas and conductor/music director for the annual musical at Germantown Friends School. Over the span of his career, Heath has released 7 well-reviewed CD’s of his original jazz.

More info and music can be found at www.heathallen.com.

IMAGE C/O Kenzi Crash

Brandi Burgess


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Brandi is an actor, educator, producer, and public speaker who advocates for queer visibility in the deep south. She is excited to join the Bearded Ladies and support their strategic vision toward greater heights and radical expressions of love, glitter and cardboard.

Brandi has served as leadership in diverse roles surrounding fundraising, program design, and education outreach throughout her career. Past organizations include Philadelphia Theatre Company, University of the Arts, Wolf Performing Arts Center, Prague Youth Theatre, and the New Victory Theater.

As a performer, educator, and producer, she is excited about her upcoming projects in the Philadelphia community.

Matt Thompson


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Matt (he/him or they/them, interchangeably) comes with a passion for the written word, an eye for design, and a passion for artmaking and live performance.

A writer at heart, Matt’s career has seen him penning lines for Philadelphia Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, Xfinity, Fine Wine & Good Spirits, and more. Not to mention, he spent nearly five years in the marketing department at Painted Bride Art Center, helping to promote and develop audiences for groundbreaking, compelling work.

When he’s not writing for work, he’s...still writing. Matt is a songwriter, singer, and instrumentalist who will hopefully be playing some venues near you very soon.


Calvin Anderson


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Calvin Anderson (he/him/they/them) is a lighting/projection designer and production manager, who recently moved to Philadelphia. They have a strong pull towards the devised, the radical and the risky, while leaning towards heart and trust. Projects range from dance to theater to live music, opera and cabaret. Career highlights include designing Late Night Snacks (Bearded Ladies 2019) Oscar at the Crown (The Neon Coven, NYC), Orchid Receipt Service (Mirror/Fire Productions, NYC), Old Man and the Sea (Pittsburgh Playhouse, PA) and Flipzoids (Generator Theater/ Alaska). Calvin was also the Production Manager for Do You Want a Cookie? and has been privileged to tour the world over with various projects.

Calvin is an educator, mentor and proud member of Wingspace Design Collective and United Scenic Artists Local 829. To see more, visit coandersondesign.com.


Rebecca Kanach


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Rebecca Kanach, architect of the Bearded Wardrobe, is currently pursuing her masters degree in costume design at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She splits her time between Philly and New York.

As a graduate of Philadelphia University in Fashion Design, she received the Good Lad Award for Excellence in Children’s Wear and went on to complete the costume apprenticeship at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Rebecca has worked with Bristol Riverside, Drexel University, Interact Theater Company, the Lantern Theater, Philadelphia Theater Workshop, Rutgers- Camden Campus, Temple University, the Walnut Street Theatre, the Wilma and various Philadelphia Mummers groups. She divides her time between freelance designing, stitching, and running wardrobe. Rebecca’s favorite beard is called the Hulihee.