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STRUT! A Harlem Renaissance Cabaret

Friday, June 09, 2023
Doors: 10pm | Show: 10:30pm

All shows in The Lounge are General Admission and seating is not guaranteed with ticket purchase. To make a reservation and guarantee a seat, click here or call 215-222-1400. The Lounge is a full-service restaurant & bar that opens at 6pm – check out our dinner menu here.

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STRUT! A Harlem Renaissance Cabaret
World Cafe Live and Opera Philadelphia are teaming up to present STRUT! A Harlem Renaissance Cabaret. Philadelphia-based artist Cookie Diorio takes the audience on a musical journey that celebrates creatives from the Harlem Renaissance and their impact on the cultural landscape today. Music highlighted as part of the event includes works performed by Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, and Billie Holiday, as well as several unpublished works by Margaret Bonds and Florence Price newly arranged for voice and band.

This hour-long cabaret will take place at The Lounge at World Cafe Live, with two shows at 8:30pm and 10:30pm. Cookie Diorio and dancers Danielle Currica & Mel Cotton will appear at both, with poets Jaylene Clark Owens (8:30pm) and Dain Saint (10:30pm) rounding out the lineup. The 8:30pm show is a relaxed performance that includes ASL and audio description. World Cafe Live is fully wheelchair accessible.

Jaylene Clark Owens is a Philly resident from Harlem, NY. She is an AUDELCO and Barrymore Award winning actress, as well as a highly acclaimed poet. Her credits include stage, film, and television. She is the recipient of the 2019 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist. Jaylene is the creator of the viral sensation, “A Black Girl and Her Braids.” Her debut book of poetry, AfroPoetic, is now available on her website. Her love for the arts extends into a joy-forward Arts & Culture podcast show that she co-hosts called #PoppaPank.
Cookie Diorio (she/her/he/him) (host) 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 trained at Ithaca College in the voice studio of Angus Godwin and learned the many different skills of western classical music from master teachers such as Carol McAmis in vocal pedagogy, Lawrence Doebler in choral arts, Dana Wilson in composition and Patrick Hansen in opera coaching. While Cookie has been in and out of the drag scene since 2002, 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.
dain saint is a poet, musician, technologist, and artist based in philadelphia. his work weaves a vision of the future and the road we take to get there. a child of jamaica and the world, his music blends blues, soul, and dancehall vocals with orchestra-tinged electronic beats into a style as mixed as his heritage.
Attending Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA), Danielle Currica was named Outstanding Performer at the 2008 Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Festival before receiving her BFA in Dance/Choreography, cum laude, 2009. She is a Philadelphia based Dance and Burlesque artist, beginning her performance journey with dance companies DanceTheatreX, then idiosynCrazy productions, and with choreographers Antoinette Coward-Gilmore, Lela Aisha Jones, Meredith Rainey, Tania Isaac, Kate Watson-Wallace, Megan Mazarick, Shannon Murphy, and Gunnar Montana. She received a 2015 Rocky Award for her dance and admin work with organizations Dance/USA Philadelphia, Ars Nova Workshop, and Headlong. Her Burlesque persona Sophie Sucre offered her a 13-year odyssey of national and international performance with the award winning Burlesque Troupe Peek-a-Boo Revue 2009-2021. Sophie was privileged to compete in the inaugural Noire Pageant, the first-ever all POC Burlesque Pageant March 2020, founded by Perle Noire, Mother of the House Noire. And was cover model of the 2022 Juneteenth special edition Retro Lovely Chocolate Cheesecake pin up magazine. Danielle helped establish the Philadelphia Burlesque Academy in 2012, and currently serves as teaching artist to the Philadelphia burlesque performance and ecdysiast enthusiast community. She can currently be seen in Gunnar Montana's upcoming immersive Fringe performance, debuting September 2023. All Pictures, Credit: ChrisK Photography.
Melanie Cotton (she/her) is a Philly native who works in and around the greater Philadelphia area as a choreographer, dancer, actor and teaching artist. Her performance and creative practice integrates various forms into her work: clown, musical theater, improvisation, hip-hop, and street dance styles. Melanie’s work as a choreographer has been featured in The Legend of Georgia McBride (Arden Theatre), This Is The Week That Is (1812 Productions), The Appointment (Lighting Rod Special), TJ Loves Sally 4Ever (Theater Horizon), Love Notes: A year of no regrets (The Bearded Ladies Cabaret), Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto (People’s Light) and more! Her performance credits include In The Heights (Walnut Street Theater), It’s My Party (1812 Productions), The Swamp is on (Pig Iron) Allan Kaprow’s ‘Chicken’ [1962] (Reinvented by Alex Da Corte) and most recently The Play That Goes Wrong (1812 Productions).