Inspired by traditional southern style gospel music and the events of her own life, Philadelphia based drag artist Cookie Diorio has a truly unique story to tell in a way that only she can. Fire In My Bones: A Gospel Jubilee is a musical narrative of Cookie’s hilarious, poignant and deeply spiritual, of course, personal anecdotes and life lessons. A lineup of sacred songs delivered with the utmost respect and highest musical quality is well balanced with a hearty dash of energetic wit and down-to-earth charm that will appeal to the religious and nonreligious alike. She opens up to explore the topics fear, adversity, triumph and joy as they have shaped her extraordinary experiences in the worlds of music and theater performance as well as in the LGBT and faith communities.
Cookie’s towering 7 foot silhouette is glamorous and commanding, and her voice matches its mightiness. She performs with a captivating physicality punctuated by rhythmic hand clapping, high heel stomping and wig whipping that could be described as aftershocks of the soul shaking sounds that explode from her body. “When I sing gospel music something powerful takes over me. I am no longer just a singer or a drag queen, I am a conduit for the energy of whatever it is that holds the magic of those words and that music together,” says Cookie. “And for me, that is where classical art songs and gospel music collide.”
Cookie is accompanied by the international pianist Jillian Zack, who is also the Music Director at ARTCy. Ms. Zack graduated with a BM in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and completed her studies in the Collaborative Piano Program at The Juilliard School in 2012, where she studied under the tutelage of Margo Garrett, Jonathan Feldman, J.J. Penna and Diane Richardson. She was a recipient of the Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship, the William Petschek Piano Scholarship, and the Greene Fellowship. She performs frequently at the Juilliard School, and at various other venues throughout New York City, including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. She has also performed throughout the United States, England, and New Zealand.
Cookie Diorio serves as host for the Artsong Repertory Theater Company’s salon-style series Saturday Afternoon Drinking Songs and has worked with many local musicians and composers. She has performed regionally throughout Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. She earned a MM in Voice Performance from Ithaca College, mastered the skill of walking in 5 inch stilettos in the night-clubs of Boston, and achieved her hair fantasy by watching vintage videos of Grace Bumbry.
Fire In My Bones: A Gospel Jubilee will be showing for ONE NIGHT ONLY at 6pm on Saturday, September 24th at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street. Admission is $20 and tickets are available through the Philadelphia Fringe Festival box office.