I Love to Eat
Written By James Still; Directed by Jessica Kubzansky; Design by Julia McNamara; Art direction by Michael Buchino. Photo by Patrick Weishampel.
I Love to Eat
January 8–February 3, 2013
Presented by Portland Center Stage on the Main Stage
Runs 75 minutes with no intermission
Tuesday – Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Thursday matinees at noon
This one man stage play “celebrates the life and talent of a Portland, Oregon, original—James Beard. Before Julia Child, before today’s proliferation of cooking shows and networks, there was James Beard, the first TV chef. He brought fine cooking to the small screen in 1946 and helped establish an American cuisine. But, as is often the case with pioneers, his early efforts on screen have been lost. He went on to become America’s first “foodie,” and the award bearing his name is still the prize most coveted by chefs. Playwright James Still invites you to meet the man described as ‘the face and belly of American gastronomy’ in this play that recreates an evening at Beard’s New York home.”
The play is performed at the Gerding Theater at the Armory – Main Stage located in the trendy artsy urban Pearl District, so you can plan on grabbing great cocktails and small bites in easy walking distance (such as at my favorites Clyde Common or Teardrop Lounge , although there are many other options too!) before or after the show, and/or dinner. In fact, you may have to go out and have dinner after watching this show after all the food references and watching James Beard (played by Rob Nagle) prepare food during the show.
For an extra special treat, consider joining in with Forktown Tours, who is doing a special edition tour followed by attending this show called the Portland Loves To Eat tour on Fridays and Saturdays during the show run. Its price-tag of $99 includes a walking tour with food samples and backstory on the life and times of “the Dean of American Cuisine” James Beard and his influence on the way we eat, a backstage tour of the Gerding Theater, an hour of time for you to fill your stomach before then going in for a Friday or Saturday night performance.
Another cool option might be to attend on January 15, after attending PCS’s Shop Talk from 6:30 – 7 p.m. Admission is free, and is a time to get answers from the production staff to questions such as how they created a working kitchen, finding the right foods to include in the production (and after auditioning various brioches and challahs, what kind of bread made the final cut?) Also find out how a fridge be used as an actor’s entrance and about some “sandwich trick”? Come tackle these questions and ask some more of your own at their free pre-show discussion!
Also, for the official West Coast Premier on Friday, January 11th, after the evening performance theater goers will be treated to a tasting reception which will feature 5 of the 7 James Beard winning chefs in Oregon, including Philippe Boulot of Multnomah Athletic Club (and previously the Heathman), Greg Higgins of Higgins Restaurant, Caprial Pence of Basa Basa, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon and Little Bird, and Cory Schreiber of The Art Institute of Portland (and founder of Wildwood Restaurant). This $125 event tickets are for a limited time and can only be purchased by visiting directly or calling the Portland Center Stage box office and providing the code “James Beard Public Market Event” (tickets for the other performances of the show’s run can be purchased over the PCS website.) All proceeds from the evening will benefit the planned James Beard Public Market, a concept for a local market that will rival Pike Place Market but located here in hometown Portland.
Finally, during the performance run PCS is also partnering with the Oregon Food Bank for a food drive, so consider bringing non-perishable items with you. We are very fortunate in that we have choices in deliciousness and can leisurely love to eat, but there are others who are in need and hungry and would love to eat too. Note there is a Whole Foods only a few blocks away. You can also use a promo code FOODBANK that will get you a $5 discount off tickets and PCS will donate $10 to Oregon Food Bank for using the code.
I had mentioned this show to F before Christmas, and after asking a couple times more (it was repetitive reminding…) he purchased matinee tickets for us to attend on January 20,. We’ll be attending with the Foodie Meetup group so that we can join in a free backstage tour – an example how PCS is stepping up to reaching out to the foodie community to celebrate the first Portland Foodie of them all.