Opening today, 'The Baker's Wife' features fresh bread and love gone stale

The Western Washington University Department of Theatre and Dance presents the cult-favorite “The Baker’s Wife” penned by stage and screen musical heavy-weight Stephen Schwartz of Disney soundtrack fame. The book and lyrics are by Joseph Stein, best known for his perennial hit “Fiddler on the Roof.” Schwartz’s Broadway credits include the musical classic “Pippin” and the still-touring world-wide smash “Wicked.”

After uneven openings on national and regional stages, “The Baker’s Wife” has been re-worked and successfully revived, achieving lasting fame as an off-the-beaten-path musical. Revivals have sported big-ticket names in the title role including Patti LuPone and, more recently, Broadway and cabaret darling, Alice Ripley.

The plot concerns the bickering residents of a rural village in Provence, France in 1935, who have been without a baker for seven weeks. They find peace and contentment in a new baker, Aimable, and his attractive young wife, Genevieve. Their peace is not lasting, and when Genevieve is lured away by a handsome young gigolo, the middle-aged baker loses all zest for life and baking. When he refuses to provide them with bread, the villagers work as a team to bring Aimable and Genevieve back together. “The Baker’s Wife” asks: is life the steam rising from the loaf, or is it the yeasty leaven?

“The Baker’s Wife” will be performed on Western’s Performing Arts Center Mainstage Nov. 14 to 16 and Nov. 20 to 23 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees offered on Nov. 17 and 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets for the performances are $12 for general audiences, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students with valid I.D. Tickets are available online at and via the Western Box Office located in the PAC, or by calling (360) 650-6146.