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

Why you are the way you are

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images c/o Christopher Ash

Images c/o Christopher Ash

Rose: You Are Who You Eat
A True Story With Music

Originally commissioned by Works & Process at the Guggenheim

In 2018 my aunt revealed I had a twin in the womb.
She said, “You know you had a twin in the womb?”
I didn’t know.
She said, “You ate her. That’s why you are the way you are.”
This was a lot to swallow.
My aunt’s pronouncement that my gender stemmed from an act of fetal cannibalism is the seed for this piece: a celebration and “digestion” of this new found twin, who I later learned would have been named “Rose.”

A shrine of music, image, objects, and text, Rose brings together a team of queer artists, including composers and musicians Emily Bate, Daniel de Jesús, Pax Ressler, and Be Steadwell with director MK Tuomanen, to tell the legend of John and Rose. Jarboe, known as the founding artistic director of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, explores this tale through musical styles ranging from art song to 1980s pop ballad, elaborate floral-inspired costumes made by Rebecca Kanach, intimate storytelling, and a feast of wordplay. This evening will feature a concert of original songs performed by a live band and set alongside a garden of images made with Kanach and filmmaker Christopher Ash. After this event, the project will continue to evolve into films and an art installation in which fellow genderqueers can nourish their own idiosyncratic identities.

FringeArts Production
Sept 14-23rd

Part of the 2023 FringeArts Festival
$35 for General Admission
$15 for Students, Industry, and Members of the Trans Community
If cost is a barrier, use our contact form to get in touch

COVID-19: Masks are optional for most performances. The Saturday Sept 17th performance will be masks highly encouraged.

Upcoming Productions

Blooming next :

New York City in January 2024
Washington, DC at Woolly Mammoth in partnership with Cultural DC in June 2024

production information and Credits

Live Performance

Conceived, Written, and Performed by John Jarboe
Director: MK Tuomanen
Producer: Emily Schreiner
Music Director: Emily Bate
Video and Scenic Designer: Christopher Ash
Costume Designer: Rebecca Kanach
Stage Manager: Nic Labadie-Bartz
Production Manager: Calvin Anderson
Lighting Design: Evelyn Swift Shuker
Sound Designer: Taylor Jedlinski
Props & Wardrobe: Scott McMaster
Video Engineer: Yōsuke Araki

Musician – Keys: Pax Ressler
Musician – Cello: Daniel de Jesús
Musician – Drums: Mel Regn

Music by:
Emily Bate
Daniel de Jesús
Pax Ressler
Be Steadwell
Lyrics and some melodies by John Jarboe

Works & Process at the Guggenheim


John Jarboe: Producer, Writer, Co-Director
• Christopher Ash: Co-director of film, Director of Photography, Co-Production Design
• MK Tuomanen: Co-Director of film, Performance Director and Dramaturg
• Rebecca Kanach: Film Co-Production Design, Costume Design and Fabrication
• Emily Bate: Composer, Music Director, Film Boom-Boy, Live Guitarist
• Daniel de Jesús: Composer, Live Cellist
• Pax Ressler: Composer, Live Pianist
• Nic Labadie-Bartz: Project Manager and Film Assistant Director
• Alik Tamar Barsoumian: Film First Assistant Camera
• Hamilton Guillén: Art Director of Film
• Scott McMaster: Wardrobe and Set Decorator
• Rae Kingfield: Craft Services and Residency Cook
• Emily Schreiner: Producer
• Compositions by: Emily Bate, John Jarboe, Daniel de Jesús, Pax Ressler, Be Steadwell