Review: THE BAKER'S WIFE at The Alchemy Theatre

A Promising Musical

By: Jun. 02, 2023
Review: THE BAKER'S WIFE at The Alchemy Theatre

THE BAKER’S WIFE is a musical adaptation, inspired by the iconic film "La Femme de Boulanger" by Marcel Pagnol and Jean Giono. Featuring a book by Joseph Stein and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Austin’s Alchemy Theatre’s production offers us a talented cast and solid production values. 

The show is set in a small French village, and follows the lives of the townspeople, who find themselves in upheaval when their new baker's wife, Geneviève (Sarah-Marie Curry) runs away with a younger man (Cameron La Brie). Devastated by her departure, the baker (Sebastian Vitale) refuses to make bread, causing the village to descend into chaos. As the baker becomes acquainted with the locals, unexpected relationships and rivalries emerge, ultimately leading to a rediscovery of love and the healing power of forgiveness.

Lucky Giraffe gives the production an uncomplicated but thoughtful set design and Stephanie Slayton’s costuming is keen. This cast delivers strong vocal performances, particularly La Brie and Curry, our romantic leads. La Brie especially captures the energy and wit of the show in his impassioned “Serenade.” Curry, in addition to Natalie Joy (The butcher’s wife, Hortense) are superb sopranos. All of the supporting cast deliver quite solid performances. I thought with envy more than once during the performance, it is a fortunate director to work with this scope of talent. Cooper cast his ensemble well, and the show was engaging the audience the night we attended, if slow.

While this production of THE BAKER’S WIFE is well produced and staged, the show’s humor gets lost in the consistent slow pacing in the scenes involving dialogue, and loses momentum during slow scene changes. It seems as if there is an unnecessary restraint that slows the show down and leaves the charming comedy with untapped potential. At times, characters that would otherwise seem bumbling or ignorant, appear cruel instead. It is hard to know if this is a choice or oversight on the part of the play’s director. Nonetheless, I suspect the three hour run time can be served by giving the material a lighter touch that could maintain a more fun experience for the audience.

This is live theatre, though, and your mileage may vary for the remaining performances of Alchemy’s THE BAKER’S WIFE. Gifting yourself with the talent that makes up this cast is worth the visit, though one must consider the evening will be long based on pacing issues within the show. Nonetheless, it is easy to see the promise in Alchemy Theatre’s production of THE BAKER’S WIFE.

The Baker's Wife

by Joseph Stein, Stephen Schwartz

Directed by Michael Cooper

Alchemy Theatre Company

May 5th - June 11th, 2023

Mastrogeorge Theatre

130 Pedernales Street

Austin, TX, 78702


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From This Author - Joni Lorraine

Joni joined BroadwayWorld in 2016 after over twenty-five years of involvement in the Central Texas theatre scene.  She has worked as a company member and educator for Pollyanna Children's The... Joni Lorraine">(read more about this author)


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