Bayless stars on Chicago stage

Chef teams with Lookingglass for new show

Chicago’s Lookingglass Theater looks to make an upscale event out of dinner theater, teaming with chef and TV host Rick Bayless for a production that combines circus acts, a romance narrative and a meal.

Show, heftily titled “Rick Bayless in Cascabel: Dinner — Daring — Desire,” is created by Bayless, Tony Hernandez and Heidi Stillman. Hernandez and Stillman previously collaborated with Lookingglass on “Hephaestus,” a similarly cirque-esque offering that preemed in 2008 and returned for a 2010 run.

Bayless, a winner of Bravo skein Top Chef Masters, has hosted PBS series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time” for eight seasons and counting. He’s also the founder of the Windy City restaurant chain whose flagship is Frontera Grill.

Bayless will also star in “Cascabel,” set in a Mexican boarding house in the 1940s. Plot centers on a chef who falls in love with a woman who doesn’t eat.

Hernandez, an associate artist with Lookingglass, is topper of Silverguy Entertainment, which produces “Cascabel” with Lookingglass and Frontera Grill. Stillman is a member of the theater troupe’s ensemble of regular collaborators.

With a full meal served to each patron, tickets top out $205 for most weekend perfs.

“Cascabel” is offered outside of Lookingglass’ main 2011-12 slate, comprised of new tuners “The Great Fire” and “Eastland” as well as play “Mr. Ricky Calls a Meeting.”

Cascabel” runs March 23-April 22 at the company’s venue in downtown Chi.

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