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Josephine: A Musical Cabaret Will Stun You

Every once in a while, there is a star who shines so bright, the whole world takes notice.

For a past generation, that woman was Josephine Baker. We’ve always been captivated by her. We’ve seen the grainy black and white film footage of her dancing topless wearing a skirt adorned with fake bananas. We’ve heard she was an incredible performer who ignited international audiences from Paris, to New York, to Cuba and beyond. Her legend lives decades after she ultimately passed in 1975.

But then, if a new era of spectators is really lucky, along comes a magical sensation who brings that legend to life. A talent that eclipses our expectations.

What began with a handful of onlookers at the San Diego Fringe Festival, has grown into an international sensation burning its way through festivals the world over. Fortunately for us, it has landed right here in Montreal. The show ends on June 18th, 2023. She will be gone in the blink of an eye.

I was lucky enough to attend the opening night of Josephine: A Musical Cabaret at the Segal Centre on June 1st. I was with two friends, and the three of us were left speechless. Mesmerized. The story, the history lesson, the costumes, the set, the direction – were all five-star caliber and she is right here in our backyard!

You don’t have to take my word for it. Even RuPaul says “She is the only person on the planet who can play Josephine Baker.”

Singer (with the voice of an angel), dancer (I have no words for her physicality that don’t sound exaggerated, but she expresses more with her hands than most people express with their whole body over a lifetime), and actor (I ugly cried the last 15 minutes) Tymisha Harris, will quite simply stun you.

If you buy any ticket to any show this summer, please make it this one. Bring your family and your friends. I can guarantee that not a soul will leave disappointed.

Inspired by America’s most “awkward” President, Tymisha was driven to find a vehicle that would change hearts and minds using her gifts. Seeing human rights slowly being taken away has made her unable to sit still. June 1st marks the beginning of Pride month. It is no mistake that on the heels of the Black Lives Matter movement, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and the threatened rights and safety of LBTQIA2+ people, that this story gathers urgency as it blasts through stages across the world.

Josephine Baker was a Black, bisexual, spy and civil right activist who spoke at the March on Washington with Martin Luther King. Leaving this world knowing only that she performed topless, would quite frankly be – a bunch of bananas.

All politics aside, the true gift of this show is that Tymisha seduces the audience with so much warmth, grace and sparkle that you don’t even know what hit you until the curtain rises. Then you realize, I am changed. I am marked for life by this show. You will be transported. You will be entertained, as you learn about Josephine’s liberating existence. You will be reminded that change is possible through art, bravery and talent like this. You will feel that by simply paying attention to her, you can help change the world.

The one-woman show Josephine: A Musical Cabaret portraying her love affairs with both France and America, is at the Segal Centre through June 18th, 2023. Get your tickets here.


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Josephine: A Musical Cabaret Will Stun You