The Bearded Ladies are five women and two men. They sing - very well - and they wear bizarre costumes. Their new show, Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret, at the Wilma Theater this weekend and again Dec. 2 and 3, is wildly entertaining, even if it still needs some kinks worked out.
Medley is the name of their complicated, charming, entertaining game: old and new, historical and contemporary, male and female, funny and moving, parody and pointed, if implicit, social commentary. This is the American Songbook in snippets, glimpses, segues, shifts, and slides. Old songs from the Old South ("Swanee," "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"), new songs about the South ("The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Sweet Home Alabama"), and songs from the North ("John Brown's Body," "Come Together"). The program lists 33 songs.