[31] TRAGIC EVENTS (Erik Ransom): Fringe review

Erik Ransom. Photo by Debra Miller.

Erik Ransom. Photo by Debra Miller.

One of the best bonuses of Philadelphia’s Fringe Festival is the nightly after-party at the Festival Bar (this year at Underground Arts), where everyone can relax, mingle, grab a bite, have a drink, and enjoy free performances of the Late Nite Cabaret. For the third consecutive year, the magnetic Erik Ransom served as host on 9/11, with this year’s show—Angles in Amerika–featuring a diverse line-up of open-mic stand-up comics, haunting music by Tiva Tiva, an enticing sneak peek at the Philadelphia Opera Collective’s Opera Macabre, and a premiere concert reading of nine songs from Ransom’s own epic-in-progress, TRAGIC EVENTS.

Relevant and camp, smart and funny, the original 9/11 drag rock opera tells the story of the homonymous Nyna Levin (Ransom), a gay Islamic drag-queen terrorist who achieves her quest for liberation and self-expression through violent acts of infamy. Biting references to religious history, world politics, and the plight of minorities define the tragicomic musical, punctuated by fabulous costume changes and a colorful sequence of red, white, and blue wigs sported by the star. Ransom’s monumental stature, commanding presence, powerful voice, and expressive attitude dominate the stage, with supporting “shock and awe” provided by Peter Andrew Danzig, Jess Conda, and Cleo Phatra. Affordable, transgressive, in-your-face performance is what “fringe” is all about, and TRAGIC EVENTS fully delivers on all counts. Mission accomplished. [Underground Arts] September 11, 2013, https://www.facebook.com/events/559512437441812/

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.