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Bard’s Beloved Spiegeltent Returns, with Cabaret Headlined by Rufus Wainwright, Ute Lemper, and Isaac Mizrahi, Plus Live Jazz, Dancing, Dining and More, All Hosted by Mx. Justin Vivian Bond

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY: The opening of the 2016 Bard SummerScape festival on Friday, July 1 signals the return of the authentic Belgian Spiegeltent. This luxurious “tent of mirrors” has proved a sensation since first arriving at Bard in 2006, when it impressed the Village Voice with its “wooden floors, mirrored walls, stained-glass panels, and red velvet ceiling.” Conveniently situated near the striking Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center, the Spiegeltent affords a sumptuous and magical environment in which to enjoy cutting-edge cabaret – headlined this year by a wide range of artists including Rufus Wainwright, Ute Lemper, and Isaac Mizrahi – and world-class jazz, dining, after-hours dancing, and more throughout the seven-week festival (July 1–August 14). Longtime Spiegeltent favorite and Tony nominee Mx. Justin Vivian Bond – “the greatest cabaret artist of this generation” (New Yorker) – returns for a third season as host, MC, and guest curator, welcoming festival patrons into a realm of sophistication, spectacle, and glamour. Click here for a video introduction to Mx. Bond.

Bard’s glittering “Mirror Tent” comes from Belgium, where such tents and the special entertainment they host have been a beloved tradition for the past century. The Spiegeltent is a marvel of engineering, comprising 3,000 interlocking parts, with a spellbinding interior of carved wood surfaces, parquet floor, beveled mirrors, stained-glass windows, and splendid velvet canopies. Flanked by table and booth seating, the tent’s stage hosts a dazzling selection of entertainers on Thursday and Friday evenings and weekends all summer long. Before and after any SummerScape performance, the Spiegeltent provides the ideal setting in which to enjoy offerings from the Hudson Valley’s rich array of farms, orchards, dairies, and wineries, including produce from Bard’s own farm.

On Friday and Saturday nights, Spiegeltent Cabaret offers sophisticated entertainment with an adventurous edge. Star singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, sultry chanteuse Ute Lemper, and fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi are among those making their SummerScape debuts, while returning acts include the burlesque Wau Wau Sisters and, of course, the inimitable Mx. Bond. The majority of Spiegeltent Cabaret shows have sold out quickly in previous summers, and given this year’s stellar lineup, this is set to continue.

On Thursday evenings, the Catskill Jazz Factory co-presents five specially created nights of Jazz at the Spiegeltent, with trombonist Chris Washburne, drummer Sammy Miller, and pianist André Mehmari among the world-class artists bringing Harlem, ragtime, and the blues to the Hudson this summer. And on the final Thursday, the Bard Music Festival presents a special celebration of music by Americans living in Italy, and Italians whose music has permeated U.S. culture, from Contemporaneous, the New York-based ensemble first founded at Bard.

Friday and Saturday nights continue After Hours, when the finest guest DJs – Miss Guy, Andrew Andrew, Tikka Masala, and Sammy Jo among them – spin the decks. Patrons can dance in the company of SummerScape artists and take advantage of the after hours menu and late-night bar.

Before and after each performance, patrons can enjoy Dining at the Spiegeltent – indoors or outside in the beautiful gardens – with a menu of seasonal fare served at selected lunchtimes and dinnertimes on Thursdays through Sundays (see detailed dining calendar here). A full bar offering complements the dinner menu.

Program details for all Spiegeltent offerings follow below.

Spiegeltent Cabaret

Fridays and Saturdays, July 1–August 13
All performances start at 8:30pm
Dinner and drinks will be available during the performances
Tickets start at $25
Performances may contain nudity, and are for mature audiences only. No one under 18 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.


Isaac Mizrahi: Ask Isaac
Friday, July 1
To kick off the Spiegeltent season, Isaac Mizrahi – beloved fashion superstar, head judge of Project Runway, and QVC icon – offers an intimate evening in his other favorite roles, of cabaret artist and talk show host. He will sing a medley of popular songs, from “C’est si bon” to “I Believe in You,” and between numbers will take questions from audience members, about anything – literally anything – they care to ask.

Mx. Justin Vivian Bond: Dixie McCall’s Patterns for Living
Saturday, July 2
Mx. Justin Vivian Bond returns with a 25th-anniversary revival of the show that first catapulted the “transatlantic cabaret messiah” (Time Out London) to fame. First performed in a hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco, Dixie laid the groundwork for a career that would span from basement clubs to Broadway. Born of Mx. Bond’s obsession with the sultry glamour of singer Julie London, who played nurse Dixie McCall in the 1970s’ TV show Emergency!, this special encore presentation will be accompanied by pianist Matt Ray.

Camille O’Sullivan
Friday, July 8
“When she sings it’s as though her breath is soaked in paraffin; one spark, and the whole room would ignite,” writes the Daily Telegraph. Supported by her band, Camille O’Sullivan makes her Spiegeltent debut with the dramatic interpretations of songs by Jacques Brel, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Radiohead, and others that have won her awards and fans around the world. Sexy, fierce, amusing, and mesmerizing by turns, O’Sullivan makes each song an electrifying experience.

Presented in association with the Irish Arts Center.

Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely
Saturday, July 9
Since first taking to the stage at 17, versatile singer-songwriter-guitarist Toshi Reagon has moved audiences with her big-hearted, no-holds-barred approach to rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, spirituals, and funk. Admiring her “love of mixing things up,” the New York Times observes: “[Her] vocal style ranges from a dirty blues moan to a gospel shout to an ethereal croon.” Featuring her band BIGLovely, Reagon’s concerts celebrate all that’s dynamic, progressive, and uplifting in American music.

Ute Lemper: Last Tango in Berlin (SOLD OUT)
Friday, July 15
The winner of Olivier and Molière Awards, Ute Lemper is one of the world’s great chanteuses. A singer of phenomenal versatility, she is best known for her ravishing interpretations of the Brecht/Weill songbook, and “embodies the Marlene Dietrich archetype of a forbidding continental temptress who has seen it all” (New York Times). In Last Tango in Berlin Lemper takes a journey across time and cultures, from Berlin cabaret and the poetic universe of French chansons by Brel and Piaf, to the intoxicating tangos of Piazzolla, and her own gorgeous songs of love and loss, passion and dreams.

Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer
Friday, July 22
Penny Arcade is New York’s undisputed queen of the underground. Her latest award-winning performance is an exuberant anthem and a passionate rumination on love, longing, suburbanization, cultural amnesia, and the politically correct straightjacket of consensus. Driven by her magnetic rock ’n’ roll energy, Arcade creates a crack in the post-gentrified landscape with a show that has been heralded as “the smartest, most quotable theatrical party in town” (The Times of London).

The Wau Wau Sisters (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, July 23
New York City’s bravest and bawdiest burlesque duo returns to the Spiegeltent to seduce and scandalize with its kamikaze costuming and cantankerous comic timing. Straddling the hilarious gap between seduction and slapstick, The Wau Wau Sisters – anarchic, astute, and adorable – careen through a show full of surprises. Truly “irreverent, sacrilegious, lascivious” (New York Times), the Wau Wau Sisters boast TV credits including the Isaac Mizrahi Show, Sharon Osbourne Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, plus such awards as Edinburgh Fringe Report’s Best Cabaret.

Mx. Bond’s House of Whimsy
Friday, July 29 & Saturday, July 30
Patrons are welcomed to the House of Whimsy – an alluring, edgy, and irreverent evening of divas and deviants from the downtown performance scene – as selected and introduced by Mx. Justin Vivian Bond. Spiegeltent favorites mingle with talented newcomers in a program of variety acts that promises to provoke and astound. Those scheduled to appear include Dane Terry, PWR BTTM, Severely Mame, Julie Atlas Muz & Mat Fraser, Kate Bornstein, Big Dipper, Angela Di Carlo, Slanty Eyed Mama, Nath Ann Carrera, and Janani Balasubramanian.

Mary Testa and Michael Starobin: Have Faith
Friday, August 5
After wowing SummerScape audiences as Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! last summer, two-time Tony Award-nominee and “latter-day Ethel Merman” (New York Times) Mary Testa returns to enchant the Spiegeltent. One of New York’s great musical theater singers, she gives a not-to-be-missed account of her celebrated recent album Have Faith, with the support of music director and two-time Tony Award-winner Michael Starobin. From 1980s pop to Rodgers & Hammerstein, the duo explores the timeless question of keeping faith, with “the vividness of a brilliant fine wine” (Broadway World).

Rufus Wainwright: A Benefit Concert for the Bard Spiegeltent
Saturday, August 6 (tickets start at $45; SOLD OUT)
Described by Elton John as “the greatest songwriter on the planet,” Rufus Wainwright is a superb showman with an incomparable voice and a unique brand of theatrical pop. Born into folk royalty in Rhinebeck, he went on to release seven studio albums and collaborate with artists including David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Robbie Williams, and producer Mark Ronson. This summer marks his Hudson Valley homecoming, as he makes his sold-out Spiegeltent debut with an intimate solo concert.

Stew & Heidi Rodewald: Notes of a Native Song
Friday, August 12
Notes of a Native Song offers a critically acclaimed homage to the life and works of James Baldwin, in what would have been the legendary writer’s 90th year. Tony and Obie Award-winning playwright/singer songwriter Stew (Passing Strange) and his longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald create an evening of songs, text, and video inspired by Baldwin’s artistry. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “pitch-perfect musicianship and irresistible personality that make every song its own showstopper,” Notes of a Native Song melds provocative themes with wonderfully catchy tunes and head-nodding grooves.

Mx. Justin Vivian Bond: Angels We Have Heard When High
Saturday, August 13
The Spiegeltent season draws to a joyful conclusion as Mx. Justin Vivian Bond takes the stage once more, backed by a coven of talented, extravagantly-attired misfits: musical director Matt Ray, guitarist Nath Ann Carrera, and violinist Claudia Chopek. Mx. Bond – whose numerous accolades include a Tony nomination and Obie, Bessie, and Ethyl awards – promises to light up the summer sky with songs, spirits, sass, and a slew of special surprises.

Jazz at the Spiegeltent
Created and co-presented by Catskill Jazz Factory, a 23Arts Initiative program
Thursdays, July 7–August 4
Performances start at 8pm
Tickets: $25–$45

The Jazzmeia Horn Ensemble: The Artistry of Jazz Horn
Thursday, July 7
Vocal sensation Jazzmeia Horn launches the series with the premiere of a multi-movement, multi-disciplinary vocal suite. “A singer with a smart, steadfast connection to the jazz-vocal tradition, as defined by predecessors like Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan” (New York Times), she draws inspiration from past legends while showcasing the contemporary sound with which she took first place in the prestigious 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition.

Marc Cary Ensemble: Heartbeat of Harlem
Thursday, July 14
From Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington to P. Diddy and Jason Moran, throughout the past century Harlem has been an epicenter of cultural innovation and creativity. Artists of all genres fuse traditional and contemporary ideas to keep the Harlem Renaissance thriving. Featuring an ensemble of the jazz scene’s finest musicians led by composer, pianist, and producer Marc Cary, this concert honors past visionaries and celebrates today’s masters who keep the Harlem spirit alive. As the New York Times puts it, “There isn’t much in the modern-jazz-musician tool kit that Marc Cary hasn’t mastered.”

Sammy Miller and The Congregation: Born from The Blues
Thursday, July 21
In 1930, “father of country music” Jimmie Rodgers collaborated with “father of jazz” Louis Armstrong. Together, they drew on blues, folk, and jazz traditions, demonstrating the oneness of American musical language that remains intact at its pop culture core. From Armstrong and Rodgers to Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson, all American music traditions are born from the blues. Grammy-nominated drummer Sammy Miller and The Congregation explore the connections between these rich sound worlds while creating joyful jazz.

Peter and Will Anderson Quintet: The Joy of Sax
Thursday, July 28
Recognized as “virtuosos on saxophone” by the New York Times, Peter and Will Anderson are joined by jazz organist Pat Bianchi, guitarist Peter Bernstein, and drummer Kenny Washington. Together they celebrate the 175th anniversary of the saxophone, blending the repertoire and styling of sax legends Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, and Coleman Hawkins with new original works. The soulful Hammond B-3 organ, bluesy jazz guitar, swinging drum set, and sultry saxophone evoke the sounds of 1950s’ hard bop, groove, and swing.

Chris Washburne’s Ragtime Band: Ragtime and the Birth of Jazz
Thursday, August 4
“One of the best trombonists in New York” (New York Times) joins forces with “one of Brazil’s best kept secrets” (EJazz News) to lead an ensemble in this bi-hemispheric ragtime revival. Latin Jazz master trombonist Chris Washburne and Brazilian virtuoso pianist André Mehmari return to the Spiegeltent with the first installment of a two-year project, in their centennial tribute to ragtime king Scott Joplin, and an exploration of the international roots of jazz in the Cuban habanera and Brazilian choro traditions.

Bard Music Festival at the Spiegeltent
Tickets: $15–$40
Thursday, August 11, at 8pm

Contemporaneous: Spaghetti Western
This year’s Bard Music Festival, which celebrates “Giacomo Puccini and His World,” presents New York-based ensemble Contemporaneous in a special program of music by Americans living in Italy and by Italians whose music has permeated U.S. culture. From David Lang to Ennio Morricone, they explore the ways that – since Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West – Italian and American music have travelled together through film.

After Hours
Fridays and Saturdays, July 1–August 14
All performances start at 10pm and end at 12:30am
Tickets: $12 (or free with ticket to any same-day SummerScape event)
After Hours performances may contain nudity, and are for mature audiences only. No one under 18 will be admitted to After Hours.

DJ Miss Guy
Friday, July 1 & Saturday, July 2
“A pioneer in the DJ world” (Spin) who has spun in booths from Tokyo to London and Milan, DJ Miss Guy – aka lead singer of the Toilet Böys – launches the After Hours season in a not-to-be-missed SummerScape debut.

DJ Johnny Dynell
Friday, July 8 & Saturday, July 9
Johnny Dynell, whose NYC club residencies include The Mudd Club, Danceteria, The Pyramid Club, Area, BoyBar, The Limelight, and The Roxy, makes his Spiegeltent debut.

DJ AndrewAndrew
Friday, July 15 & Saturday, July 16
DJs, designers, interior decorators, and social commentators, AndrewAndrew are “as twin-like as you can get without sharing DNA” (New York Times) – they dress alike, live together, and spin out-of-this-world sets on the dance floor.

DJ JD Samson
Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23
Indie icon JD Samson returns to the Spiegeltent, laying down music designed to charge up the dance floor, from Le Tigre to her new project MEN.

DJ Tikka Masala
Friday, July 29 & Saturday, July 30
As heard at the White House’s annual Diwali festival, Brooklyn-based DJ Tikka Masala spins an eclectic mix that emphasizes South Asian music, classic dancehall, and hip hop.

DJ Jonjon Battles
Friday, August 5 & Saturday, August 6
Electro pop expert and “DJ to the stars” (Daily Motion) Jonjon Battles returns to the Spiegeltent to keep the dance cards loaded.

DJ Sammy Jo
Friday, August 12 & Saturday, August 13
A professional tune-slinger heard everywhere from basement clubs to sold-out arenas with the Scissor Sisters, DJ Sammy Jo returns to spin a legendary end to the Spiegeltent season.

Dining at the Spiegeltent
Thursdays–Sundays, July 1–August 13 (see detailed dining calendar here)

The Spiegeltent is the SummerScape festival’s oasis, a place to enjoy seasonal, locally inspired food and drink before and after performances, while the lovely outdoor garden provides the perfect spot to relax in the company of friends and festival artists long after the curtain comes down. Dinner reservations are recommended, and may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900 or at, giving the restaurant’s name as “Fisher Center Spiegeltent.”


SummerScape 2016: other key performance dates by genre

Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “Puccini and Italian Musical Culture” (Aug 5–7)
Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “Beyond Verismo” (Aug 12–14)

Pietro Mascagni: Iris
Sosnoff Theater
July 22* & 29 at 7:30 pm
July 24*, 27 & 31* at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25

John Heginbotham and Amy Trompetter: Fantasque (world premiere)
Sosnoff Theater
July 1 & 2 at 7:30 pm
July 3* at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25

Dan Hurlin: Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (world premiere)
LUMA Theater
July 7, 8, 9*, 14, 15 & 16 at 7:30 pm
July 10*, 13 & 17* at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25

“Puccini and the Operatic Impulse in Cinema”
Ottaway Film Center
Thursdays and Sundays, July 21–Aug 14
Tickets: $10

SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or LUMA Theater in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Hall, and Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.

New York City Round-Trip Coach Transportation:
To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The round-trip fare is $40 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets. Find additional details at:

Bard SummerScape ticket information
Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now on sale. For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit Fisher Center members receive priority access to the best seats in advance, and those who join the Center’s email list receive advance booking opportunities as well as regular news and updates.

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© 21C Media Group, May 2016

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