Rick Bayless and Lookingglass team up for foodie dinner theater
Standing atop a circus ring descending from the ceiling, Rick Bayless embraced Lookingglass Theatre Company’s aerial aesthetic for his arrival at this morning’s press conference. In a bold new venture in dinner theater, Lookingglass has teamed with the celebrity chef behind , and for Cascabel: Dinner—Daring—Desire, a circus-influenced piece where the food is also a character. Set in 1940s Mexico, the play is set in the courtyard of a boarding house, where 150 audience members will sit at long tables to watch the story unfold around them while enjoying a three-course meal created by Bayless.
Bayless will be starring in the production as a cook who attempts to woo a woman with his cooking; apparently all that time in front of TV cameras has given Bayless the confidence to try his hand at the acting game. In typical Lookingglass fashion, the play also has acrobatic gardeners and a tightrope-walking sous chef; Lookingglass mainstays Tony Hernandez and Heidi Stillman, the team behind the theater’s hugely successful Hephaestus, are collaborating with Bayless on the story.
The plot doesn’t sound like much, but the draw here is the food. Bayless says he's exploring the storytelling potential of food, how flavors and textures can awaken memories or transport an audience to another world. Cascabel aims for a truly multisensory experience, combining the visual and audio spectacle of a Lookingglass show with the taste, touch, and smell of Bayless’s Mexican-inspired cuisine. It’s also not cheap. Tickets are $180-$205 ($130-$155 for previews), and Lookingglass subscribers get early access while the general public has to wait until October 18. Cascabel: Dinner—Daring—Desire runs March 23–April 22, tickets are now available to subscribers at lookingglasstheatre.org or by calling 312-337-0665.