OK: A drag queen show for children. Parents have brought their kids to the daytime version of Late Night Snacks. They get to sit up front on a big rug. Grownups sit behind them in chairs. On stage a six and a half foot tall owl wearing 8″ platform heels asks the kids if they want to hear a drag song. They do. The owl sings: “One thing about being a Drag Queen— it’s all fake.” And: “It’s fake but it’s pretty and that’s the story of my life.” The owl sloughs off the owl suit, emerging as a guy wearing a long, tight, shiny dress of many colors who, it turns out, has a great singing voice.
The former owl introduces Johnny Shortcake, who sings: “I’m a bird you can’t define who lives outside the lines.” A song about South Philadelphia features: “Rats Put My Head in a Jar.” The songs get backup from first-rate musicians playing snare drum, harmonica, barrel house piano, and a bass fiddle. Johnny is full of energy and one hell of a singer. The children love her/him. So do the parents and friends.
[The Bearded Ladies Cabaret co-presented with Opera Philadelphia and the Office of LGBT Affairs at The Switch, 421 N. 7th St.] September 10-October 2, 2022 (Family Shows every Sunday); fringearts.com
Review of September 18 show. Each performance is different.
Dave Sweeny as Johnny Shortcake
Michael Baker as Rumi Kitchens
John Jarboe as Jarbeaux
Heath Allen, piano, accordion
Josh Machiz, bass fiddle, tuba
Jimmy Coleman, drums
Dave Sweeny, harmonica