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Rose: You Are Who You Eat

John Jarboe

in collaboration with The Bearded Ladies Cabaret

Presented by La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club

photos 1+2: Tony Hitchcock | photos 3+4: Christopher Ash

“An appealing performer… adorned by tender, frisky music.”

Once upon a vine, John Jarboe’s aunt revealed that John not only had a twin sister in the womb, but that John consumed her: “You ate her. That’s why you are the way you are.” This was a lot for John to swallow! In this musical shrine to the consumed twin, named Rose, John welcomes you into Rose: You Are Who You Eat, a celebration and re-digestion of gender and family. Jarboe, the founding artistic director of Philadelphia’s Bearded Ladies Cabaret, has assembled a team of composers and musicians – Emily Bate, Daniel de Jesús, Pax Ressler, and Be Steadwell – to explore her tale through musical styles ranging from art song to 1980s pop ballad, elaborate floral-inspired costumes, intimate storytelling, and a feast of wordplay.

“Jarboe embraces the surprise factor with silly, introspective glamor.”


Wednesday, January 10th @ 8 pm
Thursday, January 11th @ 8 pm
Friday, January 12th @ 8 pm
Saturday, January 13th @ 1:30 pm
Saturday, January 13th @ 8 pm
Sunday, January 14th @ 1:30 pm
Tuesday, January 16th @ 8 pm
Wednesday, January 17th @ 8 pm
Thursday, January 18th @ 8 pm*
Friday, January 19th @ 8 pm
Saturday, January 20th @ 1:30 pm
Saturday, January 20th @ 8 pm
Run time: 90 minutes, no intermission

*note: For January 18, masking is mandatory for all audience members.


La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club
66 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003


This show includes themes of fetal mortality and growing up queer in Michigan in the 90s, graphic eating imagery, sexually explicit language, and cannibal humor. Flashing lights will be used briefly, 40 minutes into the show. Recommended for ages 14+.


John Jarboe (she/her) is a director, singer, writer, producer and host serving you revolution, herstory, queer community making, and a whole lot of glitter. She is the founding artistic director of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, a Philadelphia-based company, now thirteen years old. She has directed and written original work performed at La Mama ETC, Joe’s Pub, and for Opera Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Wilma Theater, Guggenheim’s Works & Process, and Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series. As a director Jarboe has directed and helped create shows for Cookie Diorio, legendary Mezzo Stephanie Blythe, and for Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. As a writer and performer Jarboe has toured to Paris, Poland, New Zealand.


Rose was commissioned by Works & Process and developed in collaboration with The Bearded Ladies Cabaret. The work was created during the pandemic in Works & Process bubble residencies at Mount Tremper Arts and Bethany Arts Community, with the support of the Mellon Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation. Early iterations of Rose were presented by Works & Process in the Guggenheim Rotunda (2021) Guggenheim Theater (2022), and CulturalDC (2022).

Rose began as a commission and presentation from Works & Process at the Guggenheim through a bubble residency at Mount Tremper Arts in Fall 2020 which resulted in the music video and song “Rose: A True Story.” Then the piece was expanded as Works And Process commissioned a suite of art films and music videos on the themes of the project, all of which were developed at Bethany Arts Community in Spring 2021. Jarboe adapted them into a live concert, written by Jarboe in collaboration with four queer composers and directed by MK Tuomanen which was developed with support from Works & Process, Cultural DC and FringeArts and had workshop showings in Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York in 2022. The final concert version will take place as a co-world premiere with performances at Philadelphia’s FringeArts festival (Sept 2023), New York’s La MaMa ETC (Jan 2024), and DC’s Woolly Mammoth (June 2024). Another seed is currently growing into a large-scale art installation which will premiere in May-Sept 2024 at Philadelphia’s Fabric Museum & Workshop. Through all of this Rose has been patiently watered and nurtured by Jarboe’s company The Bearded Ladies Cabaret via the John S and James L. Knight Foundation and individual donors. You can learn more at @roseeatme on instagram.