Say Farewell: After 24 Years Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary Will Call it Quits!
This summer we, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, will bring Philadelphia its 24th and final Bastille Day celebration with a monumental farewell tour, to be held Saturday, July 14, 2018. The reason? Well organizers stated “As sad as we are to see it go, Bastille Day is extremely resource-intensive, and we have a bold new vision for our organization that requires we make some tough sacrifices.”
For one final time, the Bearded Ladies will perform a drag cabaret reenactment of the French Revolution, and 2,000 butterscotch krimpets will rain down from the penitentiary’s towers as Marie Antoinette delivers her infamous line: “Let them eat Tastykake!”
Over the years, Bastille Day has morphed and shifted into the over-the-top, sharp, silly musical performance that Philadelphians know and love today. The first Bastille Day took place in 1995. The main event that year was under a tent in the abandoned lot to the west of the penitentiary, and attendees witnessed a short theatrical performance about the nature of liberty.
Since then the crowds have swelled into the thousands, the Bearded Ladies have taken the show to the next level with their masterful writing and performance, and Eastern State Penitentiary has grown far beyond expectations.
Now Eastern State is looking to celebrate the French Revolution one more time before turning their focus to new endeavors. You can learn more about their plans here.
Bastille Day 2018: The Farewell Tour is the perfect opportunity to give Marie Antoinette a proper, spectacular sendoff. Guests can expect a show that is, as the Beards say, “both intellectual and accessible, entertaining and meaningful, stupid good and just plain stupid.” As always, it’s free and open to the public.
Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité!