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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

Bearded Ladies in “Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret”


Date: January 30

Philadelphia theatre troupe The Bearded Ladies conducts a week-long residency at Washington College, with three performances on January 30, 31 and February 1.


Around any physical war there is another war occurring: a war of popular culture, which does not obey the same rules of engagement. Wide Awake’s singular Southe voice, the Scarlett O’Hara-inspired Dixie, is surrounded by a myriad of Northe voices—characters donning mustaches, Lincoln-style top hats, corsets, britches, and boots at various points throughout the cabaret’s musical jouey. Meet some of the era’s historically marginalized characters—including the oft-forgot Julia Ward Howe, Angelina Grimké Wald, Abby Kelly Foster, and Philadelphian abolitionist Lucretia Mott. Part Gone With the Wind, part folk-punk extravaganza, join The Bearded Ladies as they test their hypothesis that the Civil War “has been fought both before and after the actual event” and is being waged, even today.



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