PHILADELPHIA, July 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eastern State Penitentiary is teaming up with The Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe, to present a free theatrical performance of the French Revolution for the penitentiary's annual Bastille Day festival, to be held Saturday, July 13. 2013. This "completely historically accurate" reenactment of the storming of Bastille will be emceed by the voice of Paris herself, Edith Piaf, and will include appearances by Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin, and a life-size French Baguette. This performance, one of the largest free theatrical events in Philadelphia, will feature confetti cannons, stilt walkers, a cardboard horse, and a catwalk so long that it divides the whole of Fairmount Avenue.
The performance will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will culminate in a playful reenactment of the storming of the Bastille. Dozens of French revolutionaries will storm the grim walls of "the Bastille" (Eastern State Penitentiary), will capture Marie Antoinette (portrayed by Terry McNally, co-owner of London Grill and Paris Wine Bar) and, ignoring her mocking cries of "Let them eat Tastykake!" will drag her to a real, functioning guillotine as 3,000 Tastykakes are flung from the prison's towers.
The performance will take place on Fairmount Avenue, free and open to the public. For those interested in a better (French Bourgeoisie) view, exclusive VIP seating is available for a donation. VIP tickets include reserved seating, Kronenbourg 1664 and refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags. Tickets are available online only at easternstate.org/bastille-day.
Following the beheading, local Fairmount restaurants will come alive with French-themed entertainment as well as food and drink specials, and the penitentiary will reopen for rare twilight tours.
About the Bearded Ladies
Bearded Ladies Cabaret is a troupe of artists who insist that art can be both intellectual and accessible, entertaining and meaningful, stupid good and just plain stupid. They fuse cabaret and theater to tackle the politics of gender, identity, and artistic invention with sparkle and wit. Bearded Ladies are always live, always smart, and never quite what you expect. Bearded Ladies are currently the cabaret company in residence at The Wilma Theater. Shows include: No Regrets: A Piaf Affair, Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret, Beards Are For Shaving: A 007 Cabaret, and Marlene and the Machine.
About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone.
Tours today include the cellblocks, solitary punishment cells, Al Capone's Cell, and Death Row. A critically acclaimed series of artist installations is free with admission. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The penitentiary is open every day, year round. March 15 through November 30, admission includes "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. For more information and schedules, please call (215) 236-3300 or visit www.easternstate.org.
SOURCE Eastern State Penitentiary