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  To Master The Art at Broadway Playhouse

To Master The Art

Broadway Playhouse
175 East Chestnut Street Chicago

TimeLine Theatre Company's 2008 World Premiere hit, receiving more than 20 rave reviews and five Jeff Award nominations, including New Work and Production, TO MASTER THE ART by William Brown and Doug Frew comes to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. The play recalls the adventure and romance of Julia and Paul Child's journey of discovery to Paris during the 1950s. From the bistro where Julia fell in love with food, to the kitchen table where she recreated everything learned during cooking class, to a room where Paul was grilled by U.S. agents about alleged Communist contact, this is the story of a larger-than-life culinary icon and her remarkable husband as they struggle to find themselves as Americans abroad.

Thru - Oct 20, 2013



Price: $25-$75

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 800-745-3000

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission


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  To Master The Art Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Is "To Master the Art," the play, a work of formidable dramatic art? Non. It is a serviceable, romantic, accessible, gentle piece of biographical writing from William Brown and Doug Frew that cannot help but wrap up its central couple, Julia and Paul Child, in the kind of halo that, I think, they both would have eschewed, given the choice. Some of the dialogue is a tad forced, although many of the supporting characters in the Childs' orbit (chefs, pals, collaborators) are colorful, exuberant types, mostly broadly played here. But enjoyably so."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"..."To Master the Art," the utterly delicious play by William Brown and Doug Frew now at the Broadway Playhouse (a remount of the original 2010 TimeLine Theatre hit), cooks up Child's evolution during the crucial decade she spent in Paris beginning in 1948. This was when she first discovered French cuisine, enrolled at the Cordon Bleu, and joined forces with Simone Beck ("Simca") to write "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," the massive tome that became a bestseller."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...William Brown and Doug Frew's delicious play To Master the Art follows Child's progress from relative hickishness as a new arrival in post-World War II Paris, through a decade-long immersion in la gastronomie francaise, to the eve of her rebirth as a doyenne."
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Tony Adler


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...There is always a danger in equating domestic chores with creative genius-wasn't the mission of the propaganda machines during the 1950s to push women out of the workplace and back into the home? Did the assembly of airy souffles and savory stews for gobbling by diners oblivious to their artistry deliver housewives from what would in 1963 be dubbed the "feminine mystique"? While passing mention is made of Paul's career as a photographer prior to enlisting in the foreign service and Julia's stint in the OSS, the former's dramatic universe still revolves largely around suits in offices, and the latter's on aprons and ovens."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...The show's leading strength is its leading actor. Woditsch is thoroughly delightful, embodying Julia's affable forthrightness and "that fluty voice," as another character puts it, without resorting to Streep-y imitation. She also maneuvers through the script's often clunkily expository passages with enough skill and velocity that you almost don't notice the history-lesson cramming. Fine supporting turns from the likes of Jeannie Affelder as Child's co-author, Simca Beck, and Sam Ashdown as a Cordon Bleu classmate from Carolina join with warm environs created by scenic designer Keith Pitts, lighting by Charles Cooper and music by Andrew Hansen to make this, if not a four-course meal, at least a tasty morsel."
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Kris Vire


Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...If this lovely play, written by William Brown and Doug Frew, possessed an intimate charm in its original 2010 staging at TimeLine Theatre that cannot be replicated in the Broadway Playhouse's grander proscenium venue, its essential warmth and honesty remain undiminished - thanks largely to Karen Janes Woditsch's still-impeccable turn as Julia Child and Craig Spidle's again empathic portrait of her indulgent and adoring husband."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...The play's ingredients may not always blend like Julia's French onion soup or famed cassoulet, but this tasty time trip makes us "present at the creation" of a food icon and the loving husband who aided and abetted her savory saga. Four courses and four stars!"
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Lawrence Bommer


ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Brown and Frew have effectively blended history, character sketches of the famous into a love story that is both accurate and compelling. This love story about food will quench the most demanding theatrical appetite. We get to know and appreciate the journey of the Child's. This is a terrific production of a worthy story."
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Tom Williams


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...This is the production that TimeLine Theatre World Premiered back in 2010. Moving this sterling production with 6 of the original 10 cast members back to reprise their roles to rave reviews and I can't imagine that what others will say about this production that could be any different. It is as solid as it was before in a little larger venue ( although still easy to see and hear) and once again Karen Janes Woditsch is a delight as she becomes Julia Childs for this dynamite story telling experience. TimeLine is known as the company that presents stories that are inspired by history- and they do a marvelous job. Moving the production to the larger theater is a great way to allow more people, including tourists , an opportunity to see one of Chicago's finest theaters at work!"
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Alan Bresloff


Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...As a bio-drama this production will inform while inspiring adventurous cooks to give Ms. Child's recipes a try; as an entertainment the play will appeal to adult audiences through its poignance, humanity and humor; but for many, TimeLine's production will serve as a theatrical appetizer that will prompt audiences to visit their Theatre again for upcoming productions, and also maybe to find and enjoy a good French restaurant following the show."
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Colin Douglas


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