-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
photo by Mark Garvin
1812 Productions is cooking up the world premiere of acclaimed actress and artist Bi Jean Ngo’s IN SEARCH OF THE KITCHEN GODS. The original solo show, created by Ngo and directed by Makoto Hirano, takes audience members through a culinary journey through Ngo’s Vietnamese American identity, aided and abetted by the Kitchen Gods. The show runs June 8 through June 26, 2022 at Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia.
“IN SEARCH OF THE KITCHEN GODS is a celebration of family, cultural heritage, and the joy of cooking,” noted Bi Jean Ngo, one of 1812’s Creative Core of Artists. “I wanted to create a show where audience members could come spend time together with me in my kitchen. In a time when a lot of us have spent time apart and the world feels divided, I wanted to create an occasion for everyone to come to the table. The shared sense memory of cooking and meal times is often a great way for us to make connections and gain understanding of one another. Through sharing stories about my family and cooking through some recipes, I hope to share my parents’ sense of humor, unabashed optimism, and epic love and the lessons they imparted to me, as I examine the dual identity of being a fierce American individualist and a responsible Vietnamese daughter.”
Think Food Network, with a generous helping of laughter and soul: IN SEARCH OF THE KITCHEN GODS is a loving and joyous evening of storytelling, family, and food. Audience members will enjoy a comedic and heartfelt experience of the people who shaped Ngo, and get a glimpse of her personal embarrassments, heartbreaks, and love life while sharing the foods that have gotten her through all of it. Ngo began developing the show after taking part in a residency with 1812’s Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program, which is dedicated to supporting the creation, development and production of work by female solo artists across a variety of disciplines: theater, performance art, and cabaret. More information on the program can be found here.
Bi Jean Ngo grew up in Northern Virginia and attended W.T. Woodson High School. She attended the Governor’s School for the Performing Arts summer program in Richmond, and then went on to study Film & Television at Boston University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science. She furthered her studies in New York, and obtained her Masters of Fine Arts degree from The Actors Studio Drama School at The New School University. She currently resides in Philadelphia and has worked with many regional theatres, appeared in film and commercials, performs in filmed and live industrials, and teaches acting. She was also a 2016 recipient of the F. Otto Haas Emerging Artist Barrymore Award and is a founding member of Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists. She received the Fox Fellowship Foundation Award for Artist with Extraordinary Potential from Theatre Communications Group. She completed her fellowship activities with Philadelphia’s Lantern Theatre Company. In 2019, Bi Jean received an Independence Fellowship Foundation Award and went abroad to study at the Suzuki Company of Toga in Japan and to Italy at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski.
Single tickets are currently available by visiting 1812productions.org. IN SEARCH OF THE KITCHEN GODS is part of 1812 Productions’ The Phoebe & Otto Premiere Series. Honorary Producers are Linda & David Glickstein.
About 1812 Productions: 1812 Productions is dedicated to creating theatrical works of comedy and comedic works of theater that explore and celebrate our sense of community, our history, and our humanity. 1812 Productions was founded in 1997 by Jennifer Childs and Peter Pryor, two long-time friends and artistic collaborators, with a dedication to comedy, theater, and Philadelphia artists. In 1998 the company premiered with The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged) and was promptly named “Best of Philly – Theater in Infancy” by Philadelphia Magazine.
In 2000, they presented the company’s first original piece created by Childs, The Big Time: Vaudeville for the Holidays. It was a critical and box office success and was the beginning of what would become a holiday tradition – an original piece each year that focused on an era or area of comedic history. It introduced a unique comedic style that is signature 1812 and was the first of now over 35 original works created by the company.
Since that time, 1812 has continued to combine their original work with plays and devised theater pieces by established and emerging playwrights and artists, producing three mainstage shows and several limited engagement comedy events each season. Their education program, 1812 Education, has been in residence at South Philadelphia High School and the Widener School for Children with Disabilities for 20 years. 1812 Education has been awarded the Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service and The Victory Foundation Award.
1812 Productions is the only professional theater company in the country dedicated to comedy and was the recipient of an honorary citation from the City of Philadelphia for outstanding work and commitment to the Philadelphia arts community. More at 1812productions.org.