IF YOU GO:
* What: "Come On In My
Kitchen," part of a monthlong
20th anniversary celebration
* Where: Barking Legs Theater,
1307 Dodds Ave.
* When: 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov.
7, Friday, Nov. 8, and Saturday,
* Admission: $25
* Information: 423-624-5347
When thinking about ways to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Barking Legs Theatre, Ann Law decided to focus on the things she loves most - food and dance.
Law, who co-owns the theater with her husband, Dr. Bruce Kaplan, added two other passions, music and spoken-word performances and has collaborated with several area artists in creating "Come On In My Kitchen," which will be presented tonight, Nov. 7, Friday, Nov. 8, and Saturday, Nov. 9, at 9 p.m.
On Sunday, Law and rehearsal director Jared Clemons were running through the dance numbers at the theater in preparation for the showcase, which features original works inspired by Robert Johnson's version of "Come in My Kitchen," originally recorded in 1936. The song is told from the point of view of a man trying to get his lover to come back to him.
Audience members will be treated throughout the evening with a six-course food experience that has been created to compliment what is happening on stage. Emcee Macus Ellsworth, who also coordinated the spoken-word artists and their works, will introduce each dish and each piece. Kenneth Burnap has designed the food and drink menu for the 21-and-older showcase.
Writers of the pieces are Erika Blackmon, Christian Collier, Janelle Jackson, Ginnie Sams, Laurie Perry Vaughen and Ellsworth.
Sams' poem will precede a strip tease dance number where, instead of discarding articles of clothing, the dancers will be shedding kitchen utensils.
"It's a provocative piece full of innuendos and puns," Sams said.
She said she was at first intimidated about contributing to the showcase, but once she heard Johnson's song, she was "inspired."
The spoken-word pieces will precede the dance numbers, all of which will be done to versions of Johnson's song, including the original. Local artists Milele Roots, Laura Walker with Lon Eldridge, Tim Hinck and Crooked Still all recorded new versions of the song, and Law found one done by Gregg Allman that is featured in a sensuous piece performed by Mary Sartain, Jessica Kitchens and Monica Ellison.
"I wanted it to showcase the sensuality of women in a more feminist way," Law said.
She also will be performing an original solo piece, accompanied by Hinck's arrangement of the song, she said.
Props, mainly every day kitchen items like knives and hand towels, are used in some provocative ways in all of the numbers.
Angela Sweet, co-owner of Neidlov's bakery and a dancer, will perform to the Johnson original and she incorporates quite a bit of flour in her number.
"It's kind of the inside joke for people who know me," she said during rehearsal Sunday.
Other dancers are Maite Bou and Cinnamon Halbert Smith.
Contact staff writer Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.