Beards On Ice-Edging & Family Skate Program
Welcome all you homosapiens to The Bearded Ladies Cabaret at Independence Blue Cross River Rink Winterfest. This is Beards on Ice!
Everyone knows we Homosapiens are on thin ice with the climate. What you are about to witness is The Bearded Ladies attempt to solve climate change in under an hour with the power of drag on ice.
Just in case for some reason that doesn’t totally work, there are lovely climate warriors from organizations around the city such as Philadelphia Jobs for Justice, Philadelphia Climate Works, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and PennEnvironment who can help direct you to community efforts towards combating the climate crisis. Please go over to the tables by the bar to sign up.
We want to thank the Philadelphia Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy and The Knight Foundation for helping to sponsor this and to our partners and hosts The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation for letting us try this new idea, and Opera Philadelphia for loaning two key staff members.
This show runs an hour. It’s a drag show…on ice: feel free to cheer, boo, get a spiked hot chocolate, feel anxious, cry, take pictures and video and/or express all your emotions by throwing money to our kittens on ice, or venmoing us @beardedladiescabaret.
Enjoy Beards On Ice: Edging!
Despite Repeated Warnings - Paul McCartney
Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga
I’m Old Fashioned - Kern and Mercer
Wind Beneath My Wings - Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley
You Light Up My Life - Joseph Brooks
Toxic - Cathay Dennis and Christian Karlsson
Heart Will Go On - James Horner
Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
Get Happy - Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
Dream On - Aerosmith
Thank U, Next - Ariana Grande
You Don’t Own Me - John Madara and Dave White
Anti-Hero - Taylor Swift
I Am the Walrus - The Beatles
This Land Acknowledgement written by Trinity Norwood, Citizen of The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Nation
Before Philadelphia was the city we know and love today, this land was known as “Lenapehoking( Lun-nah-pay-hawk-ing)” or Land of the Lenape. The Lenape are the indigenous people of what is modern-day Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the southern tip of New York. Through genocide, relocations, the Indian Boarding School era, and continued systematic erasure the Lenape people have persevered and live on as modern-day sovereign nations. We recognize their legacy that has been soaked into the very ground we stand on right now. And we acknowledge the intergenerational connection to this legacy that we all share as the descendants to the immigrants of this land. Although this history is heavy, the future is filled with hope. As part of this practice of acknowledgement 10% of all donations received today will go to We Are The Seeds, a local and national organization that celebrates and educates about contemporary Indigenous arts and culture. You can connect to their work and donate directly at www.wearetheseeds.org. For more information on the Lenape people please take a look at our website for more resources after the show!
Heath Allen is a composer, jazz pianist and theater creator based in Philadelphia.
Over his fifty-year career, Heath has recorded ten records/CD’s of his original jazz and has served a music director and/or composer for many Philadelphia theater and dance productions. Highlights include three full-length scores for choreographer Karen Bamonte and multiple scores for the bunraku puppet troupe Figures of Speech Theater.
Heath became music director of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret in 2010. With the company he composed and arranged the drag opera Mommie Queerest, the Civil War cabaret Wide Awake, a German Expressionist cabaret Marlene and the Machine, and the James Bond opera/cabaret Beards are for Shaving. In 2014/15, Heath served as music director and lead composer for Andy: A Popera, a collaboration between the Bearded Ladies and Opera Philadelphia. Other shows include Bitter Homes and Gardens and Contradict This, an exploration of the complicated legacy of Walt Whitman. He was arranger and MD for the Beards’ Edith Piaf movies Love Notes: A Year of No Regrets.
Other recent projects include the eco-cantata Jonah and the Plankton, composed for rapper Anthony Martinez-Briggs, the Parkinsingers and T-Voce; and The Bearded Ballerina, composed for John Jarboe and the Relache New Music Ensemble (the 2017 Dina Wind Commission). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j0G73JEYG8.
Jamel Baker is always excited when he gets to work with the Bearded Ladies. Jamel is a freelance stage manager based in Philadelphia. Some of his past shows include: Choir Boy (ASM, Philadelphia Theatre Company); Late Night Snacks (Bearded Ladies Cabaret); The Choice (Influx Theatre); High Noon (Ninth Planet); Passover (Theatre Exile). Jamel is also the Lead Producer at Passage Theatre and a board member on Directors Gathering (DG).
Kimberly "Max" Brown, PhD is delighted to work with the Beards on their first ice show! Max has worked with the Wilma Theater, Opera Philadelphia, Pig Iron Theater and Swarthmore College, and with other performers such as A Tall Order, Johnny Showcase, Red 40 and Eliza Hardy Jones. Most notably has worked as stylist with the incomparable Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret/Dito Van Reigersberg for 16 years, creating original wigs, makeup and costume looks.
Veronica Chapman-Smith is a classically trained soprano who has performed with opera companies and orchestras across the country while keeping firm roots in her hometown of Philadelphia. Veronica has sung roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Birmingham, Opera Philadelphia, and Opera Colorado to name a few. Veronica can be heard as part of the ensemble The Crossing on the Grammy award-winning recording for Best Choral Performance, Gavin Bryars: The Fifth Century (2018) and the Grammy nominated recording of Julia Wolfe’s Fire In My Mouth (2020).
While Veronica acknowledges that it has been a privilege to be part of many wonderful productions and organizations, the lack of representation and true equity in the classical world has caused her to start using her voice in exploration of her Black identity within a predominantly White artform. Veronica uses classical music and historic speeches and quotes to create performances that speak to her experience as a black woman in the world.
David Devan is general director and president of Opera Philadelphia, where he works on strategic planning initiatives and builds partnerships within the Philadelphia community and the opera world. He joined Opera Philadelphia in January 2006 and was appointed general director of the company in 2011. His key achievements include the establishment of the annual Festival O, supported by a Center Advancement grant; the establishment of the nation's first ever collaborative Composer in Residence Program with New York partners Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group, designed to foster the growth of tomorrow's great operatic composers; the 2020 launch of the Opera Philadelphia Channel, a streaming platform featuring cinematic world premieres and archival stage productions; and the creation of the Center-funded American Repertoire Program in 2011, committing to produce an American work in 10 consecutive seasons, solidifying Opera Philadelphia's role as a national leader in the creation of new works. Under Devan's leadership, Under Devan's leadership, Opera Philadelphia has commissioned or co-commissioned 15 new stage operas, including Cold Mountain, written by Pew Fellow Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer, and the Center-supported Breaking the Waves, by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, based on the film by Lars von Trier.
John Jarboe (she/her) is a director, singer, writer, and host serving you herstory, queer community making, and a whole lot of glitter. She is the founding artistic director of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, transforming opera, cabaret, and live performance, creating work that will make you sing, dance, and question. She has written, performed, and directed original work for La Mama ETC, Joe’s Pub, Opera Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Wilma Theater, Lincoln Center and most recently an original commission called Rose You Are Who You Eat for The Guggenheim’s Works & Process series.
Taylor Jedlinski (she/her) is an audio engineer, sound designer, and production manager in the Philadelphia area. Taylor obtained her BFA in Technical Theatre/Design as well as a BFA in Directing from Lindenwood University near St. Louis, Missouri and spent a couple years designing and working as an event manager in Minneapolis, MN before landing in Philadelphia in 2018.
Since then, she has collaborated with many theaters around the city including FringeArts, Lightning Rod Special, Theatre Horizon, Inis Nua, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Temple University, UArts, and, of course, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret.
Rebecca Kanach is a Barrymore Award-winning costume designer. In New York, her work has been seen in at The Lincoln Center, The Guggenheim, Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, La MaMa, The New Ohio, and Joe’s Pub. Regionally, her work has been seen at companies including The Arden Theatre Company, Opera Philadelphia, and People’s Light and Theater Co. Academic work includes Bryn Mawr College, Drexel University, Temple University, Swarthmore College, and University of the Arts. Rebecca is a co-founder and the resident costume designer of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, and a company member of Lightning Rod Special. She is a MFA graduate from NYU Tisch and a USA 829 member.
Messapotamia Lefae (she/her) is a queer performance artist who uses one-on-one lip sync performance, monologue, contemporary dance to heal the wounds of transphobia, nurture queer community, and spark joy. Born in Rhode Island, Messy received dance training at Vassar College, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Wissahickon Dance Academy with Nancy Malmed, and the School of the Philadelphia Ballet with Alexei Borovik. She studied voice with Cookie Diorio and Pax Ressler. Messy performed with The Bearded Ladies in Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary, Color Me Bearded at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Do You Want a Cookie?, and in several productions starring Stephanie Blythe as Blythely Oratonio. She gave spicy one-on-one Peep Show performances at the 2022 Late Night Snacks Cabaret. She is a Celebrity Nanny, an independent communications consultant for the Anti-Racism Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, and a Bingo Verifying Diva at the AIDS Fund’s GayBINGO, and a parishioner at St. Mark’s Church on Locust Street. Messy is excited to be making her drag ice skating debut.
Josh Machiz is a Philadelphia-based musician, comedian, and composer who's been confusing and delighting audiences across North America for over two decades. He's a 2-Time Barrymore Award Winner and co-recipient of an American Composers Forum Grant. He's collaborated with Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Mickey Roker, Uri Caine, Wilma Theater, BalletX, Opera Philadelphia, & Pig Iron Theater Company. He's currently a member of TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb, Arcana New Music Ensemble, and Dirty Dollhouse.
The New York Times described his music as “What the mail sounds like,” dosage Magazine calls him "Philadelphia's giant musical force," The Charm City Comedy Festival describes him as “Surrealist Stand-up Comedy.” Josh's music has been featured on NPR's Jazz Night in America and his comedy is featured on Amazon Prime. He's performed at Kimmel Center, Lincoln Center, Joyce Theater, Mann Center, 92nd Street Y, and the Guggenheim. Sometimes he babysits on Tuesday afternoons.
Sally Ollove is a Philadelphia and Seattle based dramaturg and director. She is the Associate Artistic Director and Resident Dramaturg of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret in Philadelphia. Formerly the Literary Manager at Arden Theatre Company, Resident Dramaturg of Azuka Theatre, and the Programming Director of The Jewelbox Theater at the Rendezvous in Seattle. Other credits include Pig Iron Theatre, TheatreExile, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and The Foundry (Philadelphia), ACT (Seattle), One Coast Collaboration, Book-It Theater, and Frank Boyd & Libby King (On the Boards) among others. She has served as adjunct faculty at Rowan University, University of the Arts and Intiman Theater's Emerging Artist program and is a story editor for the Wondery podcast This Job is History.
Philippe Poirier, a French Canadian figure skater, has been skating for more than 35 years. He competed in both singles and ice dance. Philippe cumulates 25 years of experience as a coach, choreograph and dance partner for skaters of all ages.
After getting his MBA in arts management in Quebec, Philippe joined the ice show as a professional skater. He toured with Holiday On Ice for 8 years, and also with Robin Cousins’ ICE for its inaugural UK tour. Philippe has also worked as an executive manager for a Canadian contemporary dance company, which allowed him to combine his enthusiasm for cultural business management and his passion for dance. He moved to the USA in 2016 and currently coaches in the Philadelphia area.
Samantha Rise (they/them) is a black, gender-expansive performer, teaching artist, activist and human-amplifier based in Lenapehoking, known widely as Philadelphia. A graduate of Temple University’s Jazz program and a dedicated student of their city’s musical history, Samantha’s musical education is inextricably bound to legacies of radical black feminist leadership, and liberatory imagination. Their songwriting is a trans-genre practice, drawing on a wide root system of traditional Black American music– jazz, folk, country and avant-garde– drawn up through their experiences between urban and high desert wilderness. Rise's debut musical release, Brighter Days, is available on Apple Music, Spotify, BandCamp and Soundcloud.
David Shapiro is a former national figure skating competitor and the 2020 Midwestern Sectional Junior champion. Currently, he attends the University of Delaware where he is studying psychology. After skating, David hopes to become a psychologist. While he no longer competes competitively, he still skates for UD’s collegiate team. David coaches ice skaters in and around Wilmington Delaware. When he is not on the ice or studying, David enjoys making art and taking rather long naps. Moreover, David is very excited to participate in The Bearded Ladies’ Beards on Ice and hopes you enjoy the show too!
Michael Solonoski is thrilled to be performing with the Beards on Ice and back performing as a singer and skater. Michael is a former international figure skating competitor, and earned a US Adult National title and is the 2018 Gay Games champion. Michael has performed professionally for the last 12 years and toured internationally as a principal skater with Holiday on Ice, the Next Ice Age and the Ice Theater of New York. Michael pushed the boundaries as a performer by singing live while skating as well as performing aerial acrobatics. He holds an architecture degree from Drexel University and coaches figure skaters in the Philadelphia area. When not on the ice, Michael performs a cabaret show in Rehoboth Beach, DE.
Lili St. Queer is a musician, cabaret & theatre artist, drag queen, comedian, educator, and DJ. They are a co-founder of Jaffe St. Queer Productions, whose recent partnership with the Penn Museum produced the original musical “Eric & Lili’s Night at the Museum,” and their cabaret duo Glitter & Garbage was named Philly Magazine’s Best Cabaret Act 2019. Lili is also the prettiest cast member in their recurring one-woman show “Cabaret Sauvignon.”
Joy Taney paints and fabricates for film, theater and television with specialties in airbrush, FX makeup, and scenic work. Joy moved to Philadelphia in 2016 after winning the reality competition Skin Wars: Fresh Paint and has since collaborated with local and national entities such as Buzzfeed Video and Diego Montoya Studio. They love an engineering challenge; cannot live without cerulean blue in their color palette; is playing in the studio with foam, silicone, and simple motors; and her little dog uses a language board with 17 buttons. Joy's stage persona, drag king Henlo Bullfrog, advocates for the transformative power of art and drag to turn one's greatest differences into their most valuable assets. Joy acts on this belief with visual and performance art exploring their Judiasm, disability, grief and gender.
Brenson Thomas is a Black and queer writer, actor, and theatre-maker. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College's MFA Theatre program, Brenson has collaborated with and performed in productions by Tony Award Winner Stew, Raja Feather Kelly, Lightning Rod Special in The Appointment (FringeArts/Next Door at NYTW; Barrymore Nominee for Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical), Arden Theatre Company in the world premiere of R. Eric Thomas' Backing Track, and Into the Woods, and with 1812 Productions for This is the Week That Is (2020 & 2022), and the Wilma Theater. When he’s not hunched over his laptop crying about blank Google docs, Brenson enjoys long walks around his beloved Philly, doing bad accents, smashing patriarchal white supremacist structures, and Beyoncé.
MK Tuomanen (they/them) is a performance artist and playwright dubbed Best Theatre Artist by Philly Mag in 2015, and granted the Haas Emerging Artist Award in 2017. An amateur drummer and professional troublemaker, they sing kweerpunk poetry to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. They are a proud Associated Artist with the Bearded Ladies and a member of Applied Mechanics (www.AppliedMechanics.us).