Cooking and sharing a delicious meal with your friends and family is an experience sure fill to your heart as much as your stomach. These soulful shows involve preparing and sharing a meal at home, in a restaurant or even an unusual location like a bomb shelter. Wash your hands and get cooking!
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 5f)
It’s 1956 and The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein are having their annual quiche breakfast. As the assembled “widows” await the announcement of the society’s prize-winning quiche, the atomic bomb sirens sound! Has the Communist threat come to pass? 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche is a tasty recipe of hysterical laughs, sexual innuendoes, unsuccessful repressions and delicious discoveries.
A Crock of Schnitzel by Barbara Pease Weber (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3f, 2m)
A Crock of Schnitzel is a comedy for everyone who, at one time or another, has overindulged in a cornucopia of culinary decadence resulting in night terrors and a whopper of a belly ache. A newlywed couple experiences out-of-this-world chaos and mishaps. It all starts with a wedding gift: an unusual defect antique cuckoo clock from the husband’s aunt-in-law.
A Taste of Things to Come by Debra Barsha and Hollye Levin (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 4f)
A laugh-out-loud, fabulously fun romp that celebrates the friendships of four very different women from middle America in the 1950s and ’60s. An all-female cast and band bring a saucy zest to this exciting new musical comedy, but also some serious food for thought about socio-political changes spanning the era. The show’s original score is reflective of the chart-topping songs from the period, inspired by the pop, soul, folk and R&B grooves.
Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3f, 3m)
Ernestine Ashworth spends her 17th birthday agonizing over her insignificance in the universe. Soon enough, it’s her 18th birthday. Even sooner, her 41st. Her 70th. Her 101st. Five generations, an infinity of dreams and one cake baked over a century. This poignant and funny play takes its audience through the highlights, heartbreaks and extraordinary moments that make up one woman’s ordinary life.
Blackberry Winter by Steve Yockey (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2f, 1m)
Years of success, meticulous planning, and an eye for detail have in no way prepared Vivienne Avery for her mother’s slide into the grip of dementia. Initially hiding behind insomnia-fueled baking and a polite smile, stories about her mother leave Vivienne’s inner turmoil quietly laid bare in a juxtaposition of stories, theatrical gestures and a children’s story-esque Alzheimer’s “creation myth.”
Fat Ham by James Ijames (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 4m)
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames reinvents Shakespeare’s masterpiece with his new drama, a delectable comic tragedy. Juicy is a queer, Southern college kid, already grappling with some serious questions of identity, when the ghost of his father shows up in their backyard, demanding that Juicy avenge his murder. It feels like a familiar story to Juicy, well-versed in Hamlet’s woes. What’s different is Juicy himself, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man trying to break the cycles of trauma and violence in service of his own liberation. From an uproarious family barbecue emerges a compelling examination of love and loss, pain and joy.
Hello/Goodbye by Peter Souter (UK)
(Full-Length Play / 2f, 2m)
It’s a new year. And Juliet – young, smart and sassy – has got herself a fresh start in a new flat. But there’s also a problem: amidst the boxes, a strange guy is also moving in – and he won’t leave. He says the agency has messed up and her flat is actually his flat. As if that’s not enough, the real problem is that, well, he’s rather gorgeous… This chic comedy is a modern metropolitan guide to falling in (and out) of love.
Italian Rum Cake by Jules Tasca (US)
(Short Play, Comedy / 3f, 7m)
The wives of rival mob bosses enter their rum cakes in a baking contest. The judge, a local politician, is in hot water. Threatened by both sides, he decides to award the prize to a marble cake. The mob families unite to hunt him down.
Mashed Potatoes and Davey by Megan Orr (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 2m, 5 girls, 5 boys)
This year, in a stroke of good will, Mr. Masterson invites bus kid Davey Bryant over for Thanksgiving dinner. The Masterson kids are appalled; Davey, the biggest bully the kids at Faith Baptist Church have ever seen, is coming to eat at their house!
Mrs Beeton Says… by Eamonn O’Dwyer and Helen Watts (UK)
(Full-Length Musical / 5f, 3m)
A charming and vibrant musical examining the life and legacy of this extraordinary woman: a spirited journalist, a tireless entrepreneur and if not a perfect homemaker, then certainly a queen of organization. In a world where a woman could not vote, own a house, nor even ride a bicycle, Mrs. Beeton’s book gave the women of England something they desperately wanted: a bit of control.
Nigel Slater’s Toast by Henry Filloux-Bennett and Nigel Slater (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2f, 3m)
Based on the British Book Awards Biography of the Year, Toast is the story of Nigel Slater’s childhood, told through the tastes and smells he grew up with. From making the perfect sherry trifle to waging a war over cakes and from the pressured playground politics of sweets to the rigid rules of restaurant dining, this is a story of love, loss and… toast.
Risen from the Dough by France-Luce Benson (US)
(Short Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f)
In a small, rustic bakery located in the heart of “Little Haiti” Miami, FL, two Haitian-American sisters grapple with grief, identity and the complicated realities of immigrant life. Previously hit with several code violations, they prepare for the Miami Dade Health Department’s next inspection, and find themselves speeding toward an explosive culture collision.
Sancocho by Christin Eve Cato (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f)
Simmering between two Puerto Rican sisters is a family tension that finally comes to a boil. Forced to confront the reality of their father’s rapidly declining health, Renata and Caridad clash over cultural divides unearth old wounds and reveal long-buried secrets. As Caridad’s sancocho bubbles on the stove, will the two sisters reconcile their past resentments to face their uncertain futures – together?
Saturday, Sunday, Monday by Eduardo De Filippo, Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 7f, 10m)
Peppino suspects his wife Rosa of infidelity, who is brooding because he spurned her cooking and praised a meal prepared by his daughter-in-law. The character-rich cast also includes a crusty grandfather, a formidable widowed aunt on the make for the family doctor, her mama’s boy son and a “liberated” daughter-in-law. During the traditional Sunday dinner, Peppino and Rosa’s tempers flare amidst a gathering of family and friends. Add to their feud generation conflicts, a lover’s quarrel, humorous insights on momism and bourgeois Italian life and the meal is unforgettable. Of course, all is forgiven by Monday.
Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1f)
As an ordinary English housewife prepares chips and egg for dinner, she ruminates on her life and tells the wall about her husband, her children, her past and an invitation from a girlfriend to join her on holiday in Greece to search for romance and adventure. She escapes to Greece, has an “adventure” with a local fisherman and decides to stay.
Skylight by David Hare (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1f, 2m)
Kyra is surprised to see the son of her former lover at her apartment in a London slum. He hopes she will reconcile with his distraught, now-widowed father. Tom, a restless, self-made restaurant and hotel tycoon, arrives later that evening, unaware of his son’s visit. Kyra, who was his invaluable business associate and a close family friend until his wife discovered their affair, has since found a vocation teaching underprivileged children. Is the gap between them unbridgeable, or can they resurrect their relationship?
STEW by Zora Howard (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 4f)
Mama is up early to prepare an important meal and, even with her family on hand to help, time is running short. Tensions simmer with three generations of Tucker women under one roof, but things come to a boil as the violence hovering around the periphery of their lives begins to intrude upon the sanctity of Mama’s kitchen.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by C.G. Bond (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Melodrama / 3f, 8m)
Bond’s adaptation of the classic melodrama positions the murderous barber as a wronged man seeking vengeance against his oppressors. The hit play served as inspiration for the hugely successful Broadway musical. Todd has some grounds for his nefarious activities: his wife was abducted and raped by the Judge and his daughter abandoned, while he himself was deported on a false charge. He returns to avenge his family, accompanied by a sea captain, Anthony, whose life he has saved.
Table Manners by Alan Ayckbourn (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 3m)
Part of The Norman Conquests trilogy (US/UK). Annie has arranged to spend an illicit weekend with her sister’s husband and for this reason, suitably disguised, has asked her elder brother and his wife to look after their widowed mother and the house. As it happens, the seduction, thought or planned, by each of the six characters never takes place either.
The Big Meal by Dan LeFranc (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 3m, 1girl, 1 boy)
Somewhere in America, in a typical suburban restaurant on a typical night, Sam and Nicole first meet. Sparks fly. And so begins an expansive tale that traverses five generations of a modern family, from first kiss to final goodbye. A stunning, big-hearted play that spans nearly eighty years in roughly ninety minutes, The Big Meal tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary family.
The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 1m)
In Bekah Brunstetter’s touching and topical dramatic comedy, a vivacious, conservative North Carolina baker named Della faces a crisis of conscience when Jen – whom she loves like a daughter – asks her to bake a cake for Jen’s lesbian wedding.
The Kitchen Witches by Caroline Smith (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 2m)
Isobel Lomax and Dolly Biddle are two “mature” cable-access cooking show hostesses who have hated each other for thirty years, ever since Larry Biddle dated one and married the other. When circumstances put them together on a TV show called The Kitchen Witches, the insults are flung harder than the food! Dolly’s long-suffering TV-producer son, Stephen, tries to keep them on track, but as long as Dolly’s dressing room is one inch closer to the set than Isobel’s, it’s a losing battle, and the show becomes a ratings smash as Dolly and Isobel top both Martha Stewart and Jerry Springer!
The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder (US)
(Short Play, Dramatic Comedy / 7f, 5m)
This show spans nine decades, showcasing the lives of several generations of the Bayard family. Wilder breaks the boundaries of time as we measure it, and invites us to partake of “one long, happy Christmas dinner” – past, present and future. As generations appear, have children, wither and depart, only the audience appreciates what changes and what remains the same.
The Spitfire Grill by James Valcq, Fred Alley & Lee David Zlotoff (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 4f, 3m)
Based on the hit 1996 film, The Spitfire Grill is a heartwarming and inspirational musical tale of redemption, perseverance and family. Set in a small Wisconsin town, the show features a gorgeous, soulful score and several strong roles for women.
Too Many Cooks by Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 6m)
It’s 1932 in Niagara Falls, Canada, where the rum-running business is at its peak. In the aftermath of the Crash, Irving Bubbalowe and his daughter, Honey, have risked everything they have to open a new gourmet restaurant. When their star – the renowned singing chef François LaPlouffe – fails to appear, tonight’s grand opening is suddenly placed in jeopardy.
Header Image: 2020 Page 73 production of STEW (Jeremy Daniel)