America's first celebrity chef James Beard comes back to life at St. Pete's freeFall Theatre

'I Love to Eat' is directed by Lee Ann Matthews and stars Matthew McGee.

click to enlarge Matthew McGee will portray Beard and animate his intriguing life. - C/O FREEFALL THEATRE COMPANY
c/o freeFall Theatre Company
Matthew McGee will portray Beard and animate his intriguing life.
It’s hard to disagree that one of the most entertaining things in life is watching a cooking show. The beauty lies within the mix of ingredients and the techniques that make so many mouths water.

However, the real backbone of the shows are incredible, and usually funny, chefs who orchestrate such masterpieces.

That’s who James Beard was, an entertaining and beloved American culinary superstar who through his legacy elevated the country’s food culture and a short-lived TV show, "I Love To Eat," which ran briefly on NBC from 1946-1947.

Beard, who founded the James Beard Foundation, also lends his name to the most sought after culinary award in the U.S. Wins, and even Beard nominations, can change a restaurant's trajectory overnight.

Now theater fans can dive into Beard's belly and mind in a new, intimate way thanks to freeFall Theatre Company’s "I Love To Eat"—a play that imagines a late night in Beard’s Greenwich Village home.

Originally set to open in the 2020-2021 season, but postponed by COVID, the play is directed by Lee Ann Matthews and stars Matthew McGee, who will portray Beard and animate his intriguing life.

FreeFall’s Artistic Director, Eric Davis, shared his excitement for honoring such a legend.

“FreeFall audiences have always loved our selections celebrating the lives of American Masters like Judy Garland, Ira Aldridge, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and now the incomparable James Beard,” Davis said.

"I Love to Eat" opens Jan. 29 and runs through Feb. 27. Tickets range from $45-$55.

Two previews of "I Love to Eat" happen on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets for preview performances are only $25.

FreeFall also announced a one-night only performance of the musical "My Furniture Set" featuring the return of Broadway actress Ann Morrison. "Furniture" will run on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. ; admission is included in freeFall’s 2021-2022 subscription and single tickets are $35.
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