Miniball: A Benefit Cabaret to Save Philadelphia from Climate Change

Linnea Bond

March 30, 2024

80 minutes

$25 GA; PWYC from $10

FringeArts Map

Performance at 8:30pm

Sure, climate change is scary — but with a little music and a little money we can save our city from what everyone is calling “the existential threat of our time!” Join Betty Smithsonian, Jarbeaux, Cookie Diorio, Jess Conda, and Sam Rise for the most important benefit concert you’ll ever buy a ticket to.


No one turned away for lack of funds.

LINNEA BOND is a performance artist, activist, and teacher exploring apocalypse on a personal, interpersonal, and global scale. With her undergraduate degree in Sociology and an MFA in Acting and New Works Creation, she creates along a spectrum of traditional and non-traditional live performance, and direct/street and artistic activism related to the climate crisis.

JOHN JARBOE/JARBEAUX is a director, performer, curator, and writer. As the founder of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret company and its Artistic Director, Jarboe has produced original works for Opera Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre. Last year, she created Beards on Ice, a camp comedy about climate change, made in Partnership with the Delaware River Waterfront and the Independence Blue Cross River Rink.

BETTY SMITHSONIAN is a comic, creator, performer, entertainer and award winning goof. Named Best of Philly Up and Coming Comedian 2019, she can be found telling jokes, parading in the streets, confidently speaking on topics she barely understands, and creating stages and spaces for lots of people all over the land. She was once named in the New York Times as a ‘freelance clown.’ She’s on stage regularly at Punchline and throughout the Philadelphia area. She is the co-founder of Free Fringe Philly and a cast member of The N Crowd, which creates award winning short form improv comedy.

SAM RISE is a non-binary songcatcher and performer based in Philadelphia. As a self described ‘pollinator’ performer, their songs collect and evoke their myriad influences, across labels of genres and medium. An award-winning songcatcher, Samantha’s passion for music and community building are the heart of their work; a student of jazz, improvisation, social justice movements and the music that drives them, Samantha encourages a unique vulnerability with their audiences, reminding us all that music is our birthright, and a technology of healing, transformative justice and self-determination. Rise’s debut release, Brighter Days, landed in four installments over the solstice and equinox in 2019. Their music is available on Apple Music, Spotify, BandCamp and Soundcloud.

COOKIE DIORIO is a Philadelphia-based drag performer, a classically trained vocalist, a songwriter, an activist, a husband, music teacher and lover of all things sparkly. She mastered walking in 5 inch stilettos in the night clubs of Boston, achieved her hair fantasy by studying vintage videos of Grace Bumbry and founded the giving project Art of the Heel. Cookie grew up in historic Auburn, NY with gospel in her ears, civil rights in her blood and many songs in her heart. She began performing regularly in the Philadelphia area as host of the Art Song Repertory Theater Company’s salon series “Saturday Afternoon Drinking Songs” in 2013. Since, she has produced the shows Fire In My Bones: A Gospel Jubilee, Beauty From Our Sorrows, Telling Herstories, Forces of Nature, Music: The Food of Love and I, Too, Sing America. She has also been soloist for events, galas, concerts and on the cabaret stage.

JESS CONDA is a Philadelphia based performer, producer, teaching artist and cultural connector. From 2003-2013, Jess performed with BRAT Productions, a former non profit theater company known for their influence on Philadelphia’s early “Fringe” performance scene. From 2013-2017, she worked as Artistic Director, serving a mission to produce original rock-theater performance while providing creative opportunities for emerging Philadelphia artists. She has performed at Arden Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Pig Iron Theatre, Shakespeare in Clark Park. Cabaret Performance credits: Get Pegged!, Bearded Ladies, Martha Graham Cracker, Red 40 & the Last Groovement. Touring backing vocals: Peter Matthew Bauer; opener for The War on Drugs and Delta Spirit. Jess is a three-time Barrymore nominee for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play. In 2019, she received a Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding New Play for A Hard Time, co-written by Conda, Mel Krodman and OBIE Award winner Jenn Kidwell for Pig Iron Theatre Company. Jess was one of Philadelphia Magazine’s Best Stage Talents to See This Season, 2013. Jess is currently Learning and Unlearning while working as both an artist and a K-8 Arts Educator. She lives on the unceded Lenni Lenape land currently known as Philadelphia.

HEATH ALLEN (Music Director) is a composer, jazz pianist, lyricist and theater creator based in Philadelphia. He has recorded seven records/CD’s of his original jazz and has served a music director and/or composer for many theater and dance productions. Highlights include three full-length scores for choreographer Karen Bamonte and multiple scores for the bunraku puppet troupe Figures of Speech Theater. As music director of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, he composed and arranged the drag opera Mommie Queerest, the Civil War cabaret Wide Awake, a German Expressionist cabaret/opera Marlene and the Machine, and the comedic James Bond opera/cabaret Beards are for Shaving. In 2014/15, Heath served as music director and lead composer for Andy: A Popera, commissioned and produced by Opera Philadelphia. Other shows include Bitter Homes and Gardens; Contradict This, an exploration of the complicated legacy of Walt Whitman; and You Can Never Go Down the Drain, a cabaret of Mr. Rogers’ music. With Heath as MD/composer/pianist, the Bearded Ladies have been performed everywhere from NYC’s Lincoln Center and La Mama Theater to Boston’s ART; Miami, Seattle and Wellington, New Zealand.


Miniball is happening March 28 – 31 at FringeArts!

Over Easter weekend, Miniball boasts a brave lineup of encore and seat shaking new performances with over a dozen offerings under one roof. Witness groundbreaking original shows in a cutting edge theater. Enjoy marvelous moments from classes and immersive art to late nights and drag brunch! Dwell in a spirit of community with the return of Philly classics like Scratch Night and the After-Hours Cabaret. Plus, we’ve got surprises! An Easter Egg hunt runs all weekend with prizes inside. Just like Cannonball, we’ll keep the conversation going around the fire pit while you dance your heart out. And don’t miss the special offerings slated for Sunday the 31st.

Tickets begin at $25 (sliding scale) including PWYC. Act soon because seats go fast!

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