Everyman Theatre is all about getting creative to elevate the experience of its productions. Now, in addition to launching collaborative screenings at the Parkway Theatre this season, the 27-year-old arts venue is partnering with the local food community to bring back its annual Taste of Everyman series.
“This is an opportunity to frame the theatre-going experience in a way that everyone can relate,” says Everyman’s director of marketing Michele Alexander, who was instrumental in launching the series. “When it comes to the shows, I like to find every way in.”
Now in its third year, the pre-show program offers theatre-goers local bites, beers, and cocktails that are all designed to complement the theme of each performance. This time around, the series will not only incorporate restaurants, but also area farms, markets, breweries, and bartenders.
“Localism is really engrained here,” Alexander says. “We like to spread our arms around the whole city when we can.”
The series kicks off on Thursday, September 14, with a tasting preceding the 7:30 p.m. main stage performance of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly. As a nod to its title, the play’s pairings will focus on edible insects, with crispy critters (think cricket-flour protein snacks and Chiridos) from MOM’s Organic Market, insect-infused cocktails from Clavel, and a talk with Eric Kelly of Charm City Farms about the benefits of eating and breeding bugs.
During the second installment on Thursday, October 26, the food pairings will mimic the motifs in Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel—the story of an African-American seamstress living in New York City at the turn of the century, which premiered at Center Stage in 2003.
“The main character becomes a confidante for some of the other characters who are sharing some of their most intimate secrets and desires,” Alexander explains. “So we thought it would be great to highlight some of the top local foods that people really crave.”
To achieve this, Everyman consulted Baltimore blogger and resident food expert Amy Langrehr about some of her favorite dishes around the city.
“It actually took me a long time to think about,” Langrehr says. “But, ultimately, I just picked the top dishes that I would be really sad about if they went away. They’re the kind of things that I order over and over again. When I first ate them, I sat there, closed my eyes, and thought, ‘This is amazing.’”
Among the eats that Langrehr will feature during the “Classified Cravings” installment will include the tempura broccoli from Ekiben in Fells Point, the clam chowder from Dylan’s Oyster Cellar in Hampden, and the tuna tartare from Lobo in Fells Point. To sweeten the deal, the samplings will be paired with some of Langrehr’s favorite local beers from Union, Monument City, and The Brewer’s Art.
Closing out the year on Thursday, December 14, will be a special holiday-themed beverage competition inspired by Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists, a comedy about four women living during the French Revolution. To pay homage to the play, the last segment of the year will pit female bartenders Chelsea Gregoire of Ida B’s Table, Pam Haner of W.C. Harlan, and Amie Ward of R. Bar against one another and also feature Marie Antoinette-style cakes sliced by the guillotine.
Taste of Everyman tickets cost $60, and include admission to each of the evening’s accompanying performances. Aside from sampling all of the quirky food tie-ins, Alexander says that she is looking forward to seeing the collaboration between the local food and arts communities.
“People are looking for something that’s unique,” she says. “It’s a win-win for those who are interested in the experience of food, which engages all of your senses, and people who are interested in theatre, which is meant to hit your head and your heart.”