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Bard’s Beloved Spiegeltent Returns: Headlined by John Cameron Mitchell, Alan Cumming, Susanne Bartsch, Lady Bunny, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Lisa Fischer, Meow Meow, and More

Plus Live Jazz, Dancing, and Dining

Mark Primoff

Image Credit: Maria Baranova
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY: The opening of the 2019 Bard SummerScape festival on Saturday, June 29, heralds the return of the authentic Belgian Spiegeltent. The luxurious “tent of mirrors” has proven to be a sensation each summer since 2006, bewitching audiences with its wooden floors, shimmering chandeliers, mirrored walls, stained-glass panels, and red velvet ceiling. Conveniently situated near the striking Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center, the Spiegeltent provides a sumptuous setting for cutting-edge cabaret and live music – headlined this year by artists including John Cameron Mitchell, Lady Bunny, Susanne Bartsch, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Alan Cumming, Lisa Fischer, and Meow Meow – and world-class jazz, dining, after-hours dancing, and more throughout the seven-week festival (June 29–August 18).

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 an awe-inspiring 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 through Sunday, all summer long. Before and after each SummerScape performance, the Spiegeltent provides the ideal setting 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 that is usually quick to sell out. This season brings the SummerScape debuts of local neo-soul music collective Lady Moon & The Eclipse, fabled drag artist Lady Bunny, and cult queer icon John Cameron Mitchell, and the returns of nightlife legend Susanne Bartsch, funk diva Nona Hendryx, vocal powerhouse Lisa Fischer, postmodern performance artist Meow Meow, hot-jazz darlings The Hot Sardines, Spiegeltent favorite Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, “the greatest cabaret artist of this generation” (New Yorker), and a special Spiegeltent takeover by Alan Cumming’s East Village hotspot Club Cumming. Click here to see John Cameron Mitchell in performance.

Friday and Saturday night revels continue After Hours, when the finest guest DJs spin the decks for patrons to dance in the company of SummerScape artists, while taking advantage of the after-hours menu and late-night bar. In partnership with Freehand New York’s Broken Shaker (which Time Out New York calls New York City’s “no-fail refuge for a good time”), the Spiegeltent celebrates World Pride with a special weekend of After Hours, July 5-6, featuring specialty cocktails and hosted by lifestyle influencer Max Emerson (@maxisms).

On Thursday evenings, the Spiegeltent joins forces with the Catskill Jazz Factory to present “Singers & Songbooks.” This special five-concert series offers 21st-century interpretations of the songs made famous by such seminal singers as Frank Sinatra, Anita O’Day, and Joni Mitchell; dance legend Fred Astaire; and jazz pianist Horace Silver.

There will also be several special events on Sundays, including a family-friendly event in celebration of the Merce Cunningham centenary (Cage/Cunningham Music and Dance Circus) and two sessions of Bard’s beloved Summertime Swing, complete with live music and pre-performance dance instruction from the professionals.

Before and after each event, patrons can enjoy Dining at the Spiegeltent – either inside the tent itself, or out in the beautiful gardens – with a menu of seasonal fare served at selected lunchtimes and dinnertimes on Thursdays through Sundays. A full bar offering will complement the dinner menu.

Program details for all Spiegeltent offerings follow below.

Spiegeltent Cabaret
• Fridays and Saturdays, June 29–August 3
• Dinner and drinks will be available during the performances
• Except where noted, performances start at 8:30pm
• Except where noted, 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

Lady Moon & The Eclipse
Saturday, June 29, $20
Multicultural, Hudson Valley-based music collective Lady Moon & The Eclipse makes its Spiegeltent debut with a night of soaring soul vocal textures and an inspiring message of peace and unity. Characterizing the collective’s sound as “neosoul with a cross-genre bent that manifests through Afrobeat, gospel and funk,” the New York Times calls the group’s sound “charmingly retro.”

Meow Meow
Friday, July 5
Postmodern diva Meow Meow’s unique brand of kamikaze cabaret kitsch and performance art exotica has amazed and delighted audiences worldwide. The spectacular crowd-surfing “Queen of Song” (Berliner Zeitung) returns to the Spiegeltent for another explosive evening of music and glamour, dragging “cabaret kicking and screaming into the 21st century” (Time Out New York).

Lady Bunny: Pig in a Wig
Saturday, July 6
Lady Bunny – “New York’s reigning drag queen” (New York Times) – brings the fireworks this holiday weekend. Best-known as the emcee and creator of Wigstock, the drag festival that electrified New Yorkers each Labor Day, the drag diva dons her signature glitzy outfits and sky-high coiffures to sing and gab her way through an unforgettable evening of irreverent humor.

Lisa Fischer: Badass and Beautiful  
with Taylor Eigsti on piano
Friday, July 12, from $45
Following her triumphant Spiegeltent debut in 2017, “phenomenal powerhouse” Lisa Fischer (New York Times) returns for an intimate evening with piano. After four decades singing backup for icons like the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, and Nine Inch Nails, Fischer finally stepped into the spotlight in 2013, as a subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom. The Grammy Award winner’s Spiegeltent recital highlights her skills as an inventive and heartfelt interpreter of rock and soul, all infused with African, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean rhythms.

Club Cumming at the Spiegeltent
2019 SummerScape Gala After-Party
Saturday, July 13   9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., all tickets $75
For one night only, the cheeky and decadent East Village club comes upstate, presided over by the man himself: 2019 SummerScape Gala honoree Alan Cumming. Guest host Tyler Ashley joins Alan along with Haus of Cumming resident DJ and Spiegeltent favorite Sammy Jo, the Club Cumming Dancers, and many surprises in store! Proceeds from this event benefit the Fisher Center’s year-round programs.

Nona Hendryx and Mamafunk
Friday, July 19
Revolutionary new-wave goddess Nona Hendryx – a founding member of Labelle, the groundbreaking group that gave the world “Lady Marmalade” – is “a riveting performer [who] belts with all-in passion and has a punk rocker’s aggressive stage presence” (New York Times). Hendryx returns to the tent with her band, Mamafunk, for a night of down and dirty, old-school funk.

Susanne Bartsch presents Spiegeltent Follies
Saturday, July 20, from $40
Doors open at 8pm; performance from 8:30–10:30pm; DJ from 10:30pm–12:30am
Night life legend Susanne Bartsch – “a pioneer on the New York club, art, and fashion scenes since the ’80s” (Vogue) – takes over the Spiegeltent with a special edition of her eclectic and eccentric party extravaganza. Spiegeltent Follies fuses the glamour of a night at the opera with the risqué magic of burlesque circus in a dazzling array of performances. Featuring DJ Amber Martin, Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz, Charlene, and more!

The Hot Sardines
Friday, July 26, from $40
Bard opens up the Spiegeltent dance floor for the return of The Hot Sardines, whose brassy, rollicking sound breathes new life into music from decades past. Recreating New York speakeasies, New Orleans jazz halls, and Parisian cabaret, these “charismatic front-runners of vintage jazz play big halls as if they’ve just dropped into a party” (The Guardian).

John Cameron Mitchell: The Origin of Love – The songs and stories of Hedwig
Saturday, July 27 at 7pm and 9:30pm, from $45
John Cameron Mitchell – the Tony Award-winning, Golden Globe-nominated star and co-creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch – takes the stage for an intimate, eye-opening, and devilishly funny journey through his personal experience of living with his heroine for the past two decades. With guest vocalist Amber Martin (last seen at the Spiegeltent in House of Whimsy), Mitchell and his back-up band offer post-punk, neo-glam rock in this performance about love, hope and identity.

Mx. Justin Vivian Bond: Criminal Intent
Friday, August 2, from $45
Mx. Justin Vivian Bond – patron saint of the Spiegeltent and “immortal angel of cabaret” (Time Out New York) – treats audiences to a weekend of back-to-back new shows. Up first is Criminal Intent: An Evening of Songs for People Who Should Know Better, which laces virtuosic art songs with sharp-tongued observations from the underground.

Mx. Justin Vivian Bond: A Star Is Borned
Saturday, August 3, from $45
Queer icons Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, and Lady Gaga all played the same role in A Star Is Born. Now they make way for Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, who plumbs the depths of the over-the-top Hollywood melodrama and the careers of its three dazzling stars.

Spirit Family Reunion
Ride Free Record Rlease Show
Friday, August 9, $20
Since they began singing together on Brooklyn street corners ten years ago, young Americana band Spirit Family Reunion has shared the stage with such musical heroes as Pete Seeger and Levon Helm. Featuring Bard alums Maggie Carson (2007) and Or Zubalsky (MFA 2017), the band returns to the Spiegeltent in celebration of the release of their fourth album, Ride Free, with a raw, high-energy mix of bluegrass and Appalachian music that “translates perfectly into foot-stomping singalongs” (NPR).

Double Troubles: Erin Markey: Wet Food and Peter Smith: Alone, at last
Saturday, August 10, $35
Last seen headlining SummerScape 2018’s Peter Pan, Erin Markey, who “defies expectations you don’t even know you have” (New York Post), and Peter Smith, “the most luminous performer in NYC’s comedy scene” (Time Out New York), present a special double-bill of story-driven stand-up and song. Markey’s Wet Food is an intimate musical conversation tackling a world of issues, and Alone, at last draws on the force of Smith’s flirty, delicious deadpan humor.

Ryan Landry presents A Night of Song, featuring Charles Busch and more!
Friday, August 16
Ryan Landry, Provincetown’s infamous nightlife icon, holds court for the final weekend of the Spiegeltent season. First, he presents an eclectic evening of “innately funny, endearing and acutely intelligent” (New York Times) stories and songs featuring Tony-nominated performer and playwright Charles Busch, best-known for writing and starring in Die, Mommie, Die and Psycho Beach Party. Busch shares the stage with returning favorites Angela Di Carlo, Amber Martin, Mrs. Smith, and others.

Ryan Landry presents A Night of Comedy, featuring Jackie Beat and more
Saturday, August 17
Ryan Landry lives up to his reputation as an “impresario of comic mayhem” (Boston Globe) when he closes out the summer with an evening of wacky and uproarious comedy. This features “dirty-mouthed drag renaissance woman” Jackie Beat (Time Out New York), “showstopping” burlesque duo Kitten and Lou (Daily Mail, UK), and others.

Spiegeltent Jazz
• “Singers & Songbooks”
• Presented with Catskill Jazz Factory
• Thursdays, July 18–August 15
• Performances start at 8pm
• Tickets start at $25; buy all five performances and save 25%

Singers & Songbooks: Frank Sinatra
Led by Benny Benack III
Thursday, July 18
Benny Benack III, who combines “fine chops as a trumpeter [with] serious ambition as a vocalist” (All About Jazz), revisits the iconic songbook of Frank Sinatra, breathing new life into forgotten gems from the singer’s early years as well as the classics that made him a legend.

Singers & Songbooks: Fred Astaire
Led by Michela Marino Lerman
Thursday, July 25
“Tap prodigy” (New York Times) Michela Marino Lerman reimagines classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers moments through a contemporary lens. With her band, Lerman offers a modern take on the pivotal role of tap dance in American Songbook standards of the RKO era by the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, and Cole Porter.

Singers & Songbooks: Anita O’Day
Led by Veronica Swift
Thursday, August 1
“An adept lyrical interpreter [with] tremendous tonal command” (Jazz Times), Veronica Swift returns to the Spiegeltent for an homage to the songbook of her idol and vocal inspiration, Anita O’Day. Swift, one of the top young singers on today’s jazz scene, offers her own take on the infamous tempo, phrasing mastery, and effortlessly swinging style of the big-band artist recognized as “a singer’s singer” (NPR).

Singers & Songbooks: Joni Mitchell and Friends
Led by Sam Reider and the Human Hands with Kéren Tayár
Thursday, August 8
Jazz-pianist-turned-roots-musician Sam Reider teams up with vocalist Kéren Tayár for a vivacious, youthful, 21st-century twist on the Swinging Sixties. With Reider’s band, the Human Hands, they reflect on such ’60s songstresses as Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin, Carole King, Mavis Staples, and Emmylou Harris.

Singers & Songbooks: Horace Silver
Led by Camille Thurman and the Darrell Green Trio
Thursday, August 15
The New York Times writes, “You’re hard-pressed to find rising talents more exciting than Camille Thurman.” The young jazz artist’s tenor saxophone recalls legends like Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon, while her voice has drawn comparisons with Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter. Thurman honors the enduring legacy of Horace Silver, “the father of hard bop piano” (NPR), offering an original take on his music and exploring his soulful 1970s jazz-funk through imaginative new arrangements.

Special Events
• Stories, swing, song and more
• Tickets, dates, and times as shown

The Porch
Sunday, June 30 at 6pm ($20)
The Porch brings Hudson Valley locals together for an intimate evening of true stories, each told without notes in under ten minutes. The curated stories – some heartbreaking, some hilarious, and all heartwarming – have drawn a loyal following of listeners, inspiring many of them to brave the stage and bare their souls themselves.

Summertime Swing
with Eight to the Bar
Sunday, July 7; doors open at 6pm, dance instruction begins at 6:30pm, dancing until 10pm ($30, or buy both Summertime Swing nights for $50)
Spiegeltent staples Linda and Chester Freeman of Got2Lindy Dance Studios return to end Independence Day weekend with a night of swing dancing to music from Eight to the Bar. As Sound Waves magazine has observed, “I started going to see Eight to the Bar in the 1980s and I’ve consistently been blown away by their vocal harmonies, nonstop energy, and super slick arrangements of swing, jazz, blues, doo wop, and Motown tunes.”

Still Thinking: A Bard Alumni/ae Concert

Led by Wyatt Bertz (2013), Odetta Hartman (2011), Jesse Featherstone (2014), Alex Friedman (2012), Brianna Reed (2012), Joe Tisdall (2013), and Dan Vernam (2013)

Sunday, July 28 at 6pm ($20)
Bardians come together for a musical celebration led by four young alums now making their names o the music scene. Wyatt Bertz, Alex Friedman, Dan Vernam, and Odetta Hartman, hailed as “one to watch” (The Guardian), will be joined by other Bard alums and special guests.

Summertime Swing
with the Boilermaker Jazz Band
Sunday, August 5; doors open at 6pm, dance instruction begins at 6:30pm, dancing until 10pm ($30, or buy both Summertime Swing nights for $50)
Linda and Chester Freeman offer another night of swing dancing, this time accompanied by the Boilermaker Jazz Band, of whom Jazz Times says: “These guys are having a ball, and trad fans will too.”

Cage/Cunningham Music and Dance Circus
Presented by the John Cage Trust and the Merce Cunningham Trust
Sunday, August 11, from 6pm–9:30pm (free and open to the public)
Musicians and dancers come together for a celebratory account of John Cage’s historical and gloriously anarchic Musicircus. A free, family-friendly event held both indoors and out to commemorate the 100th birthday of legendary American choreographer Merce Cunningham, the production will feature chance-determined performances by more than 40 musicians and dancers.

After Hours
• Fridays and Saturdays, June 29–August 17, from 10:30pm–12:30am
• Exceptions: no After Hours on July 13 or July 20; doors open at 11pm on July 27
• Tickets: $10 before 11pm; $12 after 11pm (or free with ticket to any same-day SummerScape event)
• No one under 21 will be admitted

After Hours offers patrons the chance to dance their weekend nights away to tunes spun by a stellar roster of DJs that includes both returning favorites and fresh faces.

July 5
Freehand New York's Broken Shaker at the Spiegeltent, hosted by Max Emerson with DJ Jonjon Battles 
July 6
Freehand New York's Broken Shaker at the Spiegeltent, hosted by Max Emerson with DJ Lady Bunny
July 12
DJ Bright Light Bright Light
July 19
DJ Amber Valentine
July 26
To be announced
July 27
DJ Amber Martin and Friends
August 2-3
DJ Sammy Jo
August 9-10
DJ Harkness Granger
August 16-17
 DJ Tikka Masala

Dining at the Spiegeltent
• Thursdays–Sundays, June 29–August 18

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 will be available from June 29 at, where the restaurant’s name should be given as “Fisher Center Spiegeltent.” Full dining calendar available at

For high-resolution photos of Spiegeltent artists, click here.

Major support for the Spiegeltent is provided by Carolyn Marks Blackwood and Gregory Quinn, and by Andrew E. Zobler and Manny Urquiza.

The Spiegeltent is sponsored by Mionetto and Yamaha.

Programs, dates, and times are subject to change without notice. Spiegeltent cabaret and After Hours performances may contain nudity, and are for mature audiences only. Cabaret admission is restricted to those over 18 years old unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. No one under 21 is permitted during After Hours.

SummerScape 2019: key performance dates by genre

Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: Korngold and Vienna (Aug 9–11)
Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: Korngold in America (Aug 16–18)

Complete program details follow.

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence: Grace and Mercy
Original music for Mercy written and performed by Meshell Ndegeocello
Music from Grace performed live by Peven Everett and Gordon Chambers
World Premiere/SummerScape commission
Sosnoff Theater
July 5* & 6 at 8pm
July 7* at 2pm
Tickets: $25 to $95

Opening Night Reception for Members: Thursday, July 5
Post-Performance Conversation: Friday, July 6
Pre-Performance Conversation: Sunday, July 7 at 1pm

Music by Michael Gordon
Libretto by Deborah Artman
Directed by Daniel Fish
Conducted by David Bloom ’13, GCP ’15

LUMA Theater
July 11, 12*, 18, 19 & 20 at 8pm
July 13, 14*, 17, 20 & 21 at 2pm
Tickets: $25 to $75

Opening Night Reception for Members: Friday, July 12
Pre-Performance Conversation: Sunday, July 14 at 1pm
Post-Performance Conversation: Wednesday, July 17

“Korngold and the Poetry of Cinema”
Ottaway Film Center
July 25: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Max Reinhardt & William Dieterle, 1935, USA)
July 28: Captain Blood (Michael Curtiz, 1935, USA)
August 1 at 7pm: The Ancient Law (E.A. Dupont, 1923, Germany)
August 4 at 7pm: Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls, 1948)
August 8 at 7pm: Treasures of the Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1948, USA)
August 11 at 7pm: The Man Who Knew Too Much (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956, USA)
August 15 at 7pm: The Sea Wolf (Michael Curtiz, 1941, USA); King’s Row (Sam Wood, 1942, USA)
August 18 at 7pm: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968, USA)
Tickets: $10

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: The Miracle of Heliane (“Das Wunder der Heliane”)
American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein
Directed by Christian Räth
Sosnoff Theater
July 26* at 7:30pm
July 28* & 31; August 4* at 2pm
August 2* at 4pm
Tickets: $25 to $125

Opening Night Reception for Members Friday, July 26
Opera Talk with Leon Botstein Sunday, July 28 at noon

All programs are subject to change.

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

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 Auditorium, and the Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. 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:

Full Schedule:
For a complete schedule of SummerScape and Bard Music Festival events (subject to change), follow the links given below. Updates are posted at the festival web site
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.

Bard SummerScape:

Bard Music Festival:

Tickets and Subscriptions:; or by phone at 845-758-7900. Tickets to all mainstage events start at $25.

Subscription Offers:
Create Your Own Series:
   Save 25% and enjoy maximum flexibility, by choosing four or more events.
SummerScape Mainstage Package:
   Save 30% and guarantee seats for dance, theater, and opera events.
Dining Packages:
   Out-of-Town Package:
      Save $30 on a mainstage ticket, roundtrip bus from New York City, and three-course meal.
   Night Out Package:
      Save $20 on a mainstage ticket (selected performances only) and three-course meal.

Updates: Bard’s “e-subscribers” get all the news in regular updates. Click here to sign up, or send an e-mail to

All programs are subject to change.

The 2019 SummerScape season is made possible in part through the generous support of Jeanne Donovan Fisher, the Martin and Toni Sosnoff Foundation, the Board of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, the Board of the Bard Music Festival, and Fisher Center members, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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This event was last updated on 06-19-2019