Fire in my Bones @ The Kraine Theater

"Like a 6'8" slice of chocolate cake." - Cookie Diorio

Fire in my Bones

Directed and Performed by Cookie Diorio
With pianist Matthew Brower

June 29, 2018

"The drag story needs to be told on new stages," proclaims Cookie Diorio. It's 7:15pm on a Friday, early for something involving that much makeup, and I'm surprised at the small size of the audience. The show has barely begun but I already feel Cookie's singing like fire in my own bones.

She's doing something new and honest, finding her voice at the intersection of two worlds that haven't generally overlapped: Southern Christian gospel music...and the LGBT tradition of drag. Interspersed between powerful renditions of hymns are simple stories about Cookie's own life: how she grew up dressing in her grandmother's clothes and dancing around the house when no one was watching. How she attended Harriett Tubman's church. How she's been directed by fear her entire life, but the nexus of drag and gospel compels Cookie to "ditch my baggage so I can be the instrument."

It's a brave thing she's doing, and I am in deep admiration. Between her velvety, resonant vocal chords and the topic at hand I feel like there's gold to be struck, and I want to pack the house with anyone I can off the street. It takes a lot of courage to design your own solo show and belt it from the stage, and though she admits to being afraid I think she's found courage many of us will never get a glimpse of.

Cookie is tall, 6'8", and alluring in a tight dress with a cowl that reminds me of humble church garments (if it weren't bright red). For her second set, she changes into an animal print jumpsuit with red and black fringe, and all I want to do is make my own costumes and jump right up on stage with her.

The magic of brave storytellers is their ability to bring disparate ideas together into a melting pot of unique expression. They shed light on two very different worlds, and prove they're not so dissimilar after all.

Cookie's show is not only drag for new audiences, it's gospel for new audiences as well. I haven't been to a church in a while, but for a few hours on Friday night I felt like all the church I needed was off-off-Broadway in NYC. Thanks, Cookie, for lighting the way.

Image courtesy The Kraine Theater website

Ticket Price: $20

My Price: $10ish?

I bid on an "experimental theater" package at The Tank's annual gala, and won tickets to 3 shows via silent auction for only $20 (not!). As part of the package, I also saw She Calls Me Firefly. Now I just need to pick something at The Brick and the trio will be complete!

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