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

By: May. 09, 2019
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La MaMa Presents The NY Premiere Of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret's 'Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral For Heroes'

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, a group of Philly queers and misfits known as The Bearded Ladies Cabaret gathers to put this ancestor and his legacy on trial. Should Whitman be canceled? Can he be? Come with friends, complaints, heroes and villains alike. All are welcome. Presented by La MaMa, the New York premiere performances will take place in the Ellen Stewart Theater (June 20 - 29).

Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes will take place as part of Stonewall 50 at La MaMa, a month-long celebration of World Pride with exciting voices from around the globe and down the block, featuring multiple generations of queer performers as they pose questions, honor legacies and ignite the present. The Bearded Ladies Cabaret will present this new work, which celebrates Walt Whitman, and his host of complications and gifts. The piece is about adolescent love and heartbreak, the moments when you realize that your icons are flawed, and that means you might be too.

Artistic Director, John Jarboe says, "The Beards are thrilled to be a part of the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. Anniversaries are as much about remembering and reflection as they are about celebration. Have we done our ancestors justice? What was their charge? What did they leave us with and what kind of ancestors will we be? All this questioning is part of Contradict This! along with a lot of cake."

Directed by Jarboe (she/he), Contradict This! is written by Jarboe, Mary Tuomanen (she/her), and the ensemble, which features Daniel de Jesús (he/she/they), Elah Perelman (they/them), Jackie Soro (she/her), Pax Ressler (they/them), Veronica Chapman-Smith (she/her), Emily Bate (she/her), and Virgil Gadson (he/him) with all original compositions by Heath Allen (Music Supervisor), Emily Bate, Daniel de Jesús, and Pax Ressler. The production will also feature the Whitman Choir, which in New York will be comprised of local singers. The band will include Josh Machiz (he/him) and more.

Contradict This! also includes 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), and Production Management by Calvin Anderson (he/they), with Assistant Stage Manager: Melody Wong (she/her) and Assistant Costume Design: Scott McMaster (they/them).

Today acclaimed dancer, actor, choreographer, and educator Virgil Gadson has been added to the cast. Virgil has appeared on "America's Got Talent", MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew", and placed as a Top 4 finalist on Season 12 of "So You Think You Can Dance". Virgil has danced alongside Janet Jackson, Travis Scott and Sam Smith.

Performances will take place at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East 4th Street) on June 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 & 29 at 7pm, and Sunday June 23 at 3pm. Tickets are available online at or by calling 212-352-3101. The box office opens one hour prior to show time.

Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes was 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. Major support for Whitman at 200 artistic commissions has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.