Bearded Ladies Cabaret’s John Jarboe & Revolution Winds Peter and the Wolves

What if Prokofiev’s beloved composition were fake news?

The Bryn Mawr College Learning to Listen Series presentsPeter and the Wolves with Bearded Ladies Cabaret’s John Jarboe and Revolution WindsSaturday, April 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Great Hall, Old Library. “Peter and the Wolf,” Sergei Prokofiev’s classic music lesson, becomes a meditation on metaphor, Soviet influence, and the pitfalls of story time.

If Sergei Prokofiev had composed nothing except “Peter and the Wolf,” he would have left a sizable mark. The work has helped introduce generations of children to the instruments of the orchestra and the concept of telling a story through music, fulfilling the goal Prokofiev set for himself in 1936. Over the decades, the work has been performed by virtually every orchestra and conductor and has also attracted an endless list of narrators, including an impressive number of A-listers, among them Sting, David Bowie, Patrick Stewart, Sophia Loren, Sean Connery, Boris Karloff, Jack Lemmon, William F. Buckley, Captain Kangaroo, and the inimitable Dame Edna Everage.

When Learning to Listen producer Abigail Guay asked John Jarboe, artistic director of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, to narratePeter and the Wolf,” the original Soviet-era text, left him musing: “What if Prokofiev’s beloved composition were fake news?” And thus was born “Peter and the Wolves.” This chamber performance—arranged for a wind quintet, with a new text by Jarboe and costumes by Rebecca Kanach—removes the quacking duck from the center of the children’s classic to explore intergenerational crankiness, propaganda, and the power of listening without listening.

Each character in the tale is going to be represented by a different instrument of the orchestra.

For instance, the well-meaning liberal will be played by the flute.

The surveillance state by the clarinet.

The bassoon will represent the older generations, those of your parents and your parents’ parents, who survived the Great Depression, beat Hitler, and once attended a civil rights march. They didn’t even ask to be in this story and they don’t need to be thanked.

Audiences are invited to retrain their ears and explore the Russo-American songbook. Free, no reservations or tickets are required. Cake will be served.



Peter and the Wolves

Free | open to the public | all ages
Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m.
Great Hall, Old Library
212 N Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 | Bryn Mawr College campus directions and map


John Jarboe (she/he) is a cabaret artist, director, writer, and host serving you revolution, herstory, queer community making, and a whole lot of glitter. Jarboe is the founding artistic director of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret. Going back to the interdisciplinary roots of cabaret, Jarboe is transforming opera, cabaret, and live performance from her home in Philadelphia, making work that is insistent on its liveness and interactivity, work that will make you sing, dance, clap and question. He plays host to a community of cabaret misfits from around the world, trying to stitch together the history of and practice of a much needed form. She has performed at and created work for Joe’s Pub, La Mama ETC, Performance Arcade NZ, Opera Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Museum Of Art, FringeArts, Wilma Theater, and The Kimmel Center for The Performing Arts among others.


Revolution Winds is reinventing classical music performance through meaningful collaborations and unique concerts throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. This Philadelphia-based group values performance as a celebration of special causes essential to human rights and protecting the earth. In August of 2018, Revolution Winds was honored to collaborate with GreenFaith in providing “wind” music for a special celebration inaugurating the off-shore wind farm near Block Island. In addition to musical activism, educational programing is a key component of Revolution Winds’ concert schedule—bringing classical music into the schools while also providing mentorship for musicians of all ages. This year Revolution Winds is excited to bring unique performances of the classic work, “Peter and the Wolf,” to schools in the greater Philadelphia area. Looking ahead to future performances, Revolution Winds is committed to performing new works by local, up-and-coming composers and arrangements of popular tunes to diversify concert programming and welcome new audiences.


The Coleman Sisters’ Learning to Listen Series was established in memory of Elizabeth Coleman Mooney ’48 and in honor of Susan Norton Coleman ’45, who wanted future generations of students to derive the same great pleasure from music as they did. The Series features virtuosic musicians in a salon-like atmosphere with refreshments and informative conversation. Learning to Listen events on the Bryn Mawr campus are free and open to the public.

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