Judy Forman hurries from table to table, checking on the breakfasts of the outdoors diners. It’s Sunday, and the Big Kitchen is packed. She pauses ever so briefly. “We’re going back on Broadway!” she says as she seats folks at a table.
Forman is talking about The Big Kitchen: A Counter Cultural Musical, the stage production inspired by her 37 years of being the proprietor and spiritual maven of the Big Kitchen, the breakfast nook and cultural hub of the neighborhood of South Park.
The musical is being presented as part of the Fringe Festival, the annual theater extravaganza that makes its home in San Diego. The musical will be presented at the end of this month and the beginning of July. The musical premiered on the stage several years ago and has been part of the Fringe Festival before.
The musical draws on the experiences of the cooks, waiters, and regulars who have been part of life at the Big Kitchen over all these years. To gather material, the producers interviewed dozens of people who have been associated with the restaurant. As Forman and her restaurant have been at the forefront of all of our cultural movements over the past four decades, the songs give us a history. “If I” reminds us of the initial shock and fear we experienced with the initial AIDS crisis. Women’s liberation and the sexual revolution get their treatment with the saucy “We Was Humpin’.”
In this incarnation The Big Kitchen is getting an update. Aspects are being added to the production to make for a more compelling story.
Before we go on, let’s clear up a misconception. In a Troubadour profile of Forman back in November of 2015, the impression was given that Forman was retiring from the Big Kitchen. Nothing could be further from the truth! The closing of the Big Kitchen is fake news!
This journalist, who wrote that original story, apologizes, dear reader. I had no intention of being a Bright Bart or Faux News. The Big Kitchen remains, as does Forman. “I’m not leaving!” Forman assures her patrons.
For performance dates, times, and further information: www.facebook.com/Big-Kitchen-The-Musical-785381834841666/