CINCINNATI (May 11, 2017) — Transgender storyteller Penny Sterling brings her one-woman show SPY IN THE HOUSE OF MEN: A One-Woman Show with Balls to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival for five performances, beginning June 1, at the Coffee Emporium, 110 E. Central Parkway, in Cincinnati.
In SPY IN THE HOUSE OF MEN, Penny tells the story of how she lived the first 54 years of her life as Brian; growing up with her parents and brother, navigating relationships with women, raising kids, and attempting to be as much of a “man’s man” as she could figure out how to be– mostly by watching how guys behaved and looked. Hers is a story of pain and shame, but also of discovery and ultimately, joy.
Told with lots of humor by an actor, writer, and standup comedian who was voted the Funniest Man in Rochester (NY) in 1992 (and no, we’re not making that up), SPY IN THE HOUSE OF MEN premiered to rave reviews and sold-out performances at the 2016 Rochester Fringe Festival, and was voted Audience Favorite this year at Ithaca Fringe, where reviewers called it “a hilarious, suspenseful, heart-stopping story” and “a compact evening’s entertainment that’s as funny as it is enlightening.”
“This show started out as a series of Facebook posts where I tried to explain to my friends who I was, what I had been through, and what it means—and maybe more importantly, what it doesn’t mean—to be transgender,” says Penny. “People responded positively, asked me questions, and told me stories of friends and relatives who were also struggling with issues of gender identity.
They told me what I wrote helped them better understand the issue. ‘You should write a book,’ they’d say,” recalls Penny. “‘I don’t wanna write a book,’ I’d reply. But I could make a show about it.”
Penny received her BA in Theatre from Ithaca College, but made her living behind the camera as an Emmy Award-nominated photographer, editor, producer and director. In the 1990’s, she tried her hand at standup comedy, but gave it up in order to raise a family. Coming out as transgender when her youngest child was a senior in high school, Penny thought about going back into standup. “I made it to the semifinals of the 2016 ‘Funniest Person’ competition, but my heart wasn’t in it,” she says. “I realized I was sacrificing truth for jokes, and that’s not what I wanted.”
Penny makes her home in Rochester, NY, and is available for pre-festival interviews via phone, email, Facetime, or Skype, and during the festival by appointment. Stills and Video are available upon request. For more information on Penny and her upcoming performance schedule, visit penny-sterling.com.
Tickets and showtimes are available through the Cincy Fringe website: cincyfringe.com.