Julia Child play returns to Chicago stage

Julia Child made millions hungry with her cookbooks and television shows while she was alive. Even now, eight years after her death at age 91, there's still a keen appetite for all things Julia. Witness the revival, just announced for September 2013, of a play that retraced her early, fateful years in the kitchen.

"To Master the Art," a play by William Brown and Doug Frew, was given its world premiere in 2010 by TimeLine Theatre. Now, TimeLIne is working with the Chicago Commerical Collective to mount a limited run as part of Broadway in Chicago. The show is slated to open Sept. 10 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175, E. Chestnut Place.

Look for more details on The Theater Loop blog written by my Tribune colleage, theater critic Chris Jones.

The original 2010 production was notable to me for two reasons: Karen Janes Woditsch captured the gawky energy and gritty determination of Julia Child; and there was - is - something incredibly delicious about a performance space perfumed with the aroma of shallots cooking in butter.

"To Master the Art" opens with Child arriving in France after World War II. She was 36, newly-married and not at all sure where her true passions lay. It took a fateful bite of sole meuniere to reveal to her that food, that cooking, would be her life's work. Child would burst onto the American culinary scene in 1961 with "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and became a TV phenomenon two years later with her television series, "The French Chef."

This new production will not be part of TimeLine's subscription season, TimeLine officials note in a press release, but belongs to the fall season of Broadway in Chicago.

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