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Monday, September 18, 2017

In Context: Olivier Py Sings Les Premiers Adieux de Miss Knife

A beguiling chanteuse with a voice of honey and barbed wire, Miss Knife oozes grit, glitz, and old-world glamour. Context is everything, so get closer to the production through our series of curated links, videos, and articles. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.

Program Notes

Performing Gender (BAM blog)
For Olivier Py, it was both political and necessary to his art to become Miss Knife. “I had no idea 30 years later, Miss Knife would still be singing."

Avignon Festival champions European theatre and political debate (Radio France Internationale)
"Theatre's appropriation of myth is its own way of talking about politics.” Olivier Py on the 2017 Avignon Festival. 

After Dark: Meet Joey Arias, Drag Icon And Nightlife Legend (HuffPost)
Joey Arias sits down with HuffPost Gay Voices Associate Editor James Michael Nichols for a Q&A about nightlife, queer identity, and dancing in the windows of the old Fiorucci.

Ute Lemper: 'I'm happier to say I'm German, thanks to Angela Merkel - and Donald Trump' (The Telegraph
New York-based German performer Ute Lemper opens up about home, politics, and re-recording the catalogue of “degenerate” music banned by the Nazis.

Further Reading

  • The Complete Works of W. H. Auden: Plays and Other Dramatic Writings, 1928–1938 by W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, ed. Edward Mendelson
    Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
    London: Penguin, 2010 (first published in 1956)
  • Miracle of the Rose by Jean Genet,
    trans. Bernard Frechtman
    New York: Grove Press, 1966
    (first published in French in 1946 )
  • Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
    San Francisco: City Lights, 2001 (first published in 1956)
  • In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, ed. and trans. Lydia Davis
    New York: Penguin, 2004
    (first published in French in 1913)
  • Olivier Py: Four Plays: Theatres, Epistle to Young Actors, the Exaltation of the Labyrinth, Youth, ed. David Edney
    Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2005
  • Moise and the World of Reason by Tennessee Williams
    New York: New Directions, 2016
    (first published in 1955)
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
    New York: Penguin Books, 2005 (first published in 1855)

Watch & Listen

Miss Knife chante Olivier Py (YouTube)
In top hat, fur coat, and full beat, Miss Knife gives it all she’s got.

Excerpt of Angelique Kidjo singing "A Change is Gonna Come" at the Women March (YouTube)
The inimitable Angelique Kidjo lets the 2017 Women’s March know that “Change is Gonna Come.”

Jo Lampert - Blue Valentines (YouTube)
Special guests and downtown luminary Jo Lampert gives a soulful adaptation of the Tom Waits classic.

Now your turn...

How did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.


  1. Really fun show. Music was fantastic. Crazy night. Thank you !

  2. Not being familiar with Olivier before this show I was not sure what to expect but he was absolutely fabulous I highly recommend it for anybody who is interested in Cabaret serious chanteuses or just a fun evening of great singing and terrific music.

  3. Oliver was quite enjoyable. The guest appearance was another story on the other hand.

  4. Loved it and was so happy to hear the guest singer for the first time. She's fabulous.


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