It’s one of Philadelphia’s most popular summertime events! Eastern State Penitentiary teams with Philadelphia cabaret act The Bearded Ladies and local businesses for a playful reenactment of the Storming of the Bastille (influenced more by Monty Python than the French Revolution), followed by a French-themed street party.
Come early and take a tour of Eastern State, or stay late and take a 25-minute evening tour following the reenactment.
Eastern State Penitentiary is teaming up with The Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe, to present one of Philadelphia’s largest free spectacle of song, dance, and beheading, as 3,000 Tastykakes fly from the prison’s towers.
New for 2012, The Bearded Ladies are working with Eastern State to create an original show for the Bastille Day Celebration. This performance, one of the largest free theatrical events in Philadelphia, will feature confetti cannons, stilt walkers, a cardboard horse, and a catwalk so long that it divides the whole of Fairmount Avenue.
The performance will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will culminate in a playful reenactment of the storming of the Bastille. Dozens of French revolutionaries will storm the grim walls of “the Bastille” (Eastern State Penitentiary), will capture Marie Antoinette (portrayed by Terry McNally, co-owner of London Grill and Paris Wine Bar) and, ignoring her mocking cries of “Let them eat Tastykake!” will drag her to a real, functioning guillotine as 3,000 Tastykakes are flung from the prison’s towers.
The performance will take place on Fairmount Avenue, free and open to the public. For those interested in a better (French Bourgeoisie) view, exclusive VIP seating is available for a donation. VIP tickets include table seating, beer and refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags. Tickets are available online only beginning July 1 at easternstate.org/eventtickets.
Following the beheading, local Fairmount restaurants will come alive with French-themed entertainment as well as food and drink specials, and the penitentiary will reopen for rare twilight tours at a discounted admission price ($10 Adults, $5 Students, Seniors and Kids).