Click-clacking her way to Boston next week is Philadelphia’s favorite cabaret performer and self-proclaimed “World’s Hairiest Drag Queen”, Martha Graham Cracker. Described by Philadelphia Magazine as a “defiantly unmown lawn of a man in a blond pixie wig and a blue dress,” Martha surprisingly came to our attention not from her trademark spookable mug, but from her recent work with Philly’s National Museum of American Jewish History.
In 2014, Dito van Reigersberg (Martha’s alter ego) served as artist-in-residence at the museum through their OPEN for Interpretation program, which allows artists to immerse themselves in the museum and create a new work based on their interpretation of the experience.
Through this program, Dito and his collaborator and Musical Director Andrew Nelson worked to create a program called “It’s High Time I Said Something.” Songs featured a collection of standards from the Great American Songbook, interwoven with tales of Martha’s fictional relationships with the renowned Jewish composers. Stories in the program included how Martha provided Stephen Sondheim with the rhyme “a matinee, a Pinter play” from his hit show Company, and how she convinced Leonard Bernstein NOT to name the main West Side Story character Martha, but Maria instead. In addition to the performance, Martha also created an audio walking tour of the museum, and allows visitors to “prance through the Museum in Martha’s heels.”
Martha and her band will be joining us at American Repertory Theatre’s (http://americanrepertorytheater.org/) Club Oberon on June 15th at 7:30pm for an evening of songs and stories, and will conclude with a Q&A with Martha and Boston’s own Abe Rybeck, founder of the Theater Offensive.