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June 27, 2017

The Bearded Ladies to put on annual Bastille Day cabaret spectacle

French Revolution reenactment includes commentary on today's political climate

Celebrations Bastille Day
Bastille Day Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary/PhillyVoice

Eastern State Penitentiary is teaming up with The Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe, to present the French Revolution in a spectacle of song, dance, and raining Tastykakes for the penitentiary's annual Bastille Day festival, to be held Saturday, July 15, 2017.

The annual Bastille Day celebration at Eastern State Penitentiary will be on Saturday, July 15, the day after France celebrates its national holiday.

The Bearded Ladies' free theatrical show, which takes place outside the historic prison on Fairmount Avenue, is a playful reenactment of the lead up to Marie Antoinette's beheading.

They sing. They dance. And they throw 2,000 Tastykakes off the top of the Penitentiary.

The Bearded Ladies call the show "both intellectual and accessible, entertaining and meaningful, stupid good and just plain stupid."

RELATED: 7+ ways to celebrate Bastille Day in Philly

While the cabaret troupe's show covers historical events, the script always includes present-day commentary, too. This year, the performance will touch on Philly public school education, the American Healthcare Act, racial injustice, alternative facts, the travel ban and the border wall.

Never been and not sure what to expect? Imagine a 6-foot French baguette, confetti cannons, stilt walkers, a real and functioning guillotine, an appearance by Joan of Arc and plenty of colorful costumes.

New this year, Tastykake is offering a few lucky "Kake catchers" the opportunity to win Tastykake-themed prizes, along with a $500 cash prize. 

A select bunch of the Tastykake Krimpets and pies that are thrown into the crowd will be marked with a special sticker, encouraging the lucky recipient to head to the on-site Tastykake truck to collect their winnings.

The free performance will begin at 5:30 p.m. If standing in a crowd isn't your thing, VIP tickets are available for purchase. Included in the $40 fee is reserved seating, Kronenbourg 1664 beer, other refreshments and goodie bags.

Below are some photos from past Bastille Day celebrations in Fairmount.

Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary/PhillyVoice

Just because we know the historic events of Bastille Day, doesn't mean we know everything that will happen during Philly's Bastille Day cabaret show.


Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary/PhillyVoice

France's Bastille Day is akin to America's Fourth of July.

Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary/PhillyVoice

The show features plenty of costumes.

Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary/PhillyVoice

A real and functioning guillotine is used for the performance.

23rd Annual Bastille Day

Saturday, July 15
5:30 p.m. | Free to attend
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave.