Philadelphia

Meet the Man Behind Philly Drag Queen Martha Graham Cracker

Nothing screams Philly quite like the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret.

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Emma Lee | NewsWorks.org

There's plenty of free late-night entertainment this month during Philadelphia's Fringe Festival. But nothing screams Philly quite like the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, a regular show fronted by Pig Iron Theatre's Dito van Reigersberg as the eponymous drag queen.

Reigersberg recently sat down to discuss what makes the fictional Graham Cracker a bold, larger-than-life stage presence.

"She'll just say what's on her mind, which is maybe why I created her in the first place," Reigersberg said. "To say things Dito wouldn't say."

Reigersberg considers the spontaneity of each live show one of the most rewarding parts of performing as Graham Cracker.

He recalls one instance where he jumped into an audience member's arms and then abruptly fell to the ground, but Graham Cracker recovered. "I got up by the time it was time for me to sing again, so it was a beautiful mistake and it seemed almost planned," he said.

The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret will be performing a free show Friday night at the Fringe Arts building to kick off this year's festival.

So will Reigersberg get the butterflies before tonight's show? Maybe for a minute, but that all disappears the moment he steps on stage as the queen of the cabaret.

"It is like a free fall. Part of it is really feeling like I trust the character, I trust my eyes, I trust my instincts."
 

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