Bastille Day Preview

Eastern State Penitentiary is teaming up with The Bearded Ladies, an experimental cabaret troupe, to present the entire French Revolution in an hour-long spectacle of song, dance, and beheading for the penitentiary’s annual Bastille Day festival, to be held Saturday, July 12. This "completely historically accurate" reenactment of the storming of Bastille will be emceed by the voice of Paris herself, Edith Piaf, and will include appearances by Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Benjamin Franklin, and a life-size French Baguette.


Bastille Day 

This free theatrical performance will begin at 5:30 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 fee. VIP tickets include seating, beer and refreshments, heckling from the lower classes, and revolution goodie bags. Tickets are available online now.

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).

The Bearded Ladies have prepared instructional videos on how to dance like a revolutionary. Come prepared!