The Tattooed Lady

Philadelphia Theatre Company



Once on This Island, 2018, costumes by Clint Ramos, Circle in the Square Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus.


SWEAT, Philadelphia Theatre Company. Pictured: Kittson O’Neill, Suli Holum, Kimberly S. Fairbanks. Photo by Paola Nogueras.


Love! Valour! Compassion!, Terrence McNally, Philadelphia Theatre Company. Photo by Peter Aaron/Esto.

A musical by librettist Erin Courtney and composer Max Vernon will foreground the bravery, artistry, and bodily autonomy of a group of women who embraced personal transformation through tattoos. Directed by Ellie Heyman, the work will explore expressions of the self and a path through “otherness.” The fictional tale of a bond between mother and daughter will be wedded to a research-based historical survey of sideshow performers who made the radical choice to transform their lives through tattoos. The Tattooed Lady will incorporate animation, projection, and choreographed movement, with a score that will blend elements of jazz, blues, rock and roll, opera, waltz, country, and art song to paint a musical portrait of America.

The total grant amount represents project funding plus an additional 20% in unrestricted general operating support.