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Martha Graham Cracker

It's High Time I Said Something

In 2014, the Museum welcomed Dito van Reigersberg, his alter-ego Martha Graham Cracker, and Andrew Nelson as the year's OPEN artists.

Public Residency Events

An original cabaret - December 3, 4, and 6, 2014
Inspired by the stories and objects in the Museum, ageless diva Martha Graham Cracker brought her wry wit and emotional wallop to the Museum stage in an original cabaret. Combining well-known tunes by Jewish composers with unexpected orchestrations, Martha used her mash-up savvy and her sly way with radical musical reinvention to take the audience on a wild and bumpy ride through classic Broadway and pop songs, accompanied by her six-piece band. Sold-out crowds loved the “Drag Queen King” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) as she boldly and impossibly inserted herself into history and fanned her inner Jewish flame into a blaze.

Launch Party - October 29, 2014
Dito and Andrew joined us during the last Pay What You Wish Wednesday of the season for a kick-off celebration. Participants could meet the artists, grab a nibble and a drink, and sample Martha’s Museum audio experience right on their own smart phones. Click here to explore the Museum through Martha's heels!



OPEN 2014 Supporters

This year's project was generously supported by:
Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Hartford as recommended by Linda and David Glickstein
Sherrill Neff and Alicia Felton
Eileen Heisman Tuzman and Marty Tuzman
The Paul and Emily Singer Family Foundation

The National Museum of American Jewish History receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

About the Artists

Martha Graham Cracker, famously "the tallest drag queen in the world," is pleased to meet you. Her monthly cabaret series at L'Etage in Philadelphia has been running for almost nine years now, and is showing no signs of slowing down. From inventing a new form of exercise -- bartop Pilates -- to channeling Chaka Khan, to sitting upon the laps of hapless audience members, she is a revolution in a wig. Martha and her intrepid band have also been presented at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Mayor's Reception Room at City Hall, and Joe's Pub in New York City.

Read Martha's Museum Musings blog post
Image: Andrew Loxley

Martha's alter-ego Dito van Reigersberg is a co-founder and co-artistic director of Pig Iron Theatre Company, a physical theatre company that has created about 28 original pieces in its 19-year history. He has performed in almost all of Pig Iron’s productions since 1995, including the OBIE-winning original pieces Hell Meets Henry Halfway and Chekhov Lizardbrain. He has also performed with Headlong Dance Theatre, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, as Hedwig for Azuka Theatre Company, and as a gay Alceste in The Misanthrope for Mauckingbird Theatre Company. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and The Neighborhood Playhouse.

Andrew Nelson (Music Director) can be found playing bass, arranging, composing and sound designing in and around the Philadelphia theatrical scene. A recent highlight is arranging for Martha Graham Cracker with a string quartet from the Philadelphia Orchestra. Band and cabaret acts include Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret and George Urgo Blues Band. Andrew's very excited to be a co-artist in residence together with Dito Van Reigersberg in NMAJH's 2014 OPEN for Interpretation program.