This is one of the best Fringe shows I’ve ever seen. Cocreated by Tymisha Harris, Michael Marinaccio, and Tod Kimbro, this one-woman show stars Harris as the groundbreaking African-American entertainer Josephine Baker. Harris is a revelation: a powerful vocalist, an adept comedian, a beautiful dancer, and a thoroughly charming and engaging stage presence. This isn’t just a biographical show outlining Baker’s triumphs and hardships, plotting out highs and lows along a time line of her life. It delivers those details while managing to be both beautifully written and beautifully acted.
Josephine and Harris capture Baker’s essence, giving voice to the rich interiors of Baker’s lived experiences as an African-American woman surviving extreme racism, violence, and sexual exploitation, fighting segregation, cultivating joy and freedom by claiming agency over her body and her pleasure, and ultimately rising up on the frontlines of the civil-rights movement. Harris’s performance is smart, sexy, soulful, and inspiring.