"Bon Appétit!"
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“Bon Appétit!”

Julia Child and Lee Hoiby Aurora Classical of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia

Venue

The Bainbridge Club
1529 Bainbridge St
Philadelphia, PA 19146 United States
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“Bon Appétit!” is a comic culinary extravaganza that taps the wit and antics of one of America’s best-loved television personalities! Written by Lee Hoiby, sung by Susan Weinman, and played by pianist David Pasbrig, it is comprised of music draped over the words and gestures of Julia Child, the mother-of-all-foodies! Cake & coffee included. Cash bar.

$20 / 25 minutes

The following is from the 2015 Fringe Festival by K. Ross Hoffman of “City Paper”:

“Bon Appétit!” is a comic culinary extravaganza that taps the wit and antics of one of America’s best-loved television personalities! Written by Lee Hoiby and sung by Susan Weinman, it is comprised of music draped over the words and gestures of Julia Child, the mother-of-all-foodies! Cake, coffee and other goodies to follow. Cash Bar. WE THINK: I had zero idea what I was getting myself in for here, and sometimes that’s the best way to go: this was easily the most ridiculous experience I’ve had at Fringe this year and one of the most purely enjoyable. It didn’t hurt that it was twenty minutes long – a perfect length! – and was followed by some delicious chocolate cake. First of all, there was the venue – the Bainbridge Club, a fascinating, invitingly classy time capsule of a members-only lounge whose history dates back to 1883. After a few moments to relax in the well-appointed bar-room, we were ushered into the ballroom for the show. “Bon Appétit,” it turns out, is a twenty-minute “opera,” written in 1989, featuring text taken (presumably) from an episode of The French Chef, set to a wild, virtuosic piano score, impressively rendered here by “Doctor” David Pasbrig. Contralto Susan Weinman took on the role of Julia Child (the piece’s sole vocal character) with eager, demented gusto, attacking both the sprechtstimme-heavy vocal part and the tableful of ingredients and cooking equipment, sending cake batter flying into the audience. She also enlisted silent partner, a “suffering sous chef” in an impromptu contest to see whether it’s faster to whip egg-whites in a stand mixer or by hand in a copper bowl. (Results inconclusive, especially as they were using shaving cream as a stand-in.) And then we had some cake! (The decadent “Gateau au Chocolat l’Eminance Brune,” which we were assured was not prepared on-stage.) Incidentally, this was the debut undertaking of Aurora Classical (“All of the quality, none of the pretense”), a new company (artistic directed by Weinman) whose goal is to bring classical music to the people via low-key concerts, kids productions and classical open mic matinees. Keep an eye out – if their future projects are half as enjoyable as this one, good things are in store.

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