Celebrate Whitman at 200 with CONTRADICT THIS! A BIRTHDAY FUNERAL FOR HEROES by The Bearded Ladies

“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

-Walt Whitman

We sing the bearded electric with this queer cabaret extravaganza featuring cake, coffin, gavel, choir, composers, and live musical trolling!

For Whitman’s 200th birthday, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret are throwing a birthday funeral unlike anything that the queer poet ever experienced.  Part of the “Whitman at 200” celebration, CONTRADICT THIS! A BIRTHDAY FUNERAL FOR HEROES, directed by The Bearded Ladies’ Artistic Director and Founder John Jarboe, comes to Cherry Street Pier (121 N. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia) from May 28 to June 2, 2019.


“Anniversaries are as much about remembering and reflection as they are about celebration,” said Jarboe.  “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.”


Guests to this outdoor birthday funeral, written by the ensemble with John Jarboe and Mary Tuomanen (she/her), can expect cake, coffin, gavel, choir, and live musical trolling, along with original music written by the cast and ensemble.  On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the much lauded poet Walt Whitman’s birth, a group of Philly queers and misfits will gather overlooking the Whitman Bridge 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.

Elah Perelman; photo credit: Plate 3

The cast includes Daniel de Jesús (he/she/they), Elah Perelman (they/them), Jackie Soro (she/her), Pax Ressler (they/them), Veronica Chapman-Smith (she/her), Anthony Martinez Briggs (he/they), and Emily Bate (she/her).  They’ll be joined by the Whitman Choir, an ensemble comprised of local singers and a live band conducted by Heath Allen (he/him).

The Bearded Ladies want to make this event as accessible as possible to the public; therefore, tickets are available on a sliding scale.  No one will be turned away at the door.  However, a VIP reserved ticket package is available for $40.


CONTRADICT THIS! is one of four commissioned works that are part of the Whitman at 200 celebration.  Major support for Whitman at 200 artistic commissions has been provided to University of Pennsylvania Libraries by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Tickets and more information can be found here: bit.ly/ContradictThis.



The Bearded Ladies Cabaret present


Part of the Whitman at 200 celebration

May 28 to June 2, 2019

7:30 PM

Cherry Street Pier (121 N. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA)

Prices on a sliding scale

$40 VIP tickets available



ABOUT THE BEARDED LADIES CABARET: The Bearded Ladies Cabaret is a Philadelphia-based troupe of cabaret artists who fuse cabaret and theater to tackle the politics of gender, identity, and artistic invention with sparkle and wit. Cabaret, a unique blend of popular and high art, lends itself particularly well to artistic exploration of contemporary issues. Through their interdisciplinary productions, which draw from traditional theatre, cabaret, opera, dance, and art installation, The Bearded Ladies create unique satirical “caba-plays” which combine the irreverence and audience interaction of traditional cabaret with the attention to narrative and character of traditional theatre and opera.

In their seven-year history, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret has collaborated with the Wilma Theater, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel Center, Washington College, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Opera Philadelphia, FringeArts, and Eastern State Penitentiary to bring their unique form of cabaret to more than 10,000 residents of Philadelphia per year. They are proud to be among Philadelphia’s most visible queer arts companies. To date, they have created 15 full-length cabarets, as well as numerous commissions. They have brought their unique cabaret revolution to Poland, Seattle (Seattle Symphony), Paris (Madame Arthur), Provincetown, Cambridge, MA (ART/Oberon), Miami (Miami Light Project), New York City (Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, and La Mama), and, of course their beloved mid-Atlantic.


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