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'Soup for you!' as beloved TV grump visits Sewickley

Hundreds expected, street to close, for Village Green event

Village Green Partners, organizers of the third annual Sewickley Soup Crawl, are hoping for their first sell-out crowd.

There are 500 tickets available for the event, which will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on March 15.

Although a little more than 100 have been sold, Jennifer Markus, co-founder and president of the board of directors, expects a lot more because of the appearance of Larry Thomas, “Seinfeld” Soup Nazi, at Big Bang Comics and Collectibles, 437 Broad St.

In preparation, Broad Street will be closed from Beaver Street to School Street.

Soup crawl participants will register at Wolcott Park, corner of Broad and Beaver streets, where they will pick up a map of soup stop locations and at the end of the event, vote for their favorite soups.

The winner will receive the Golden Ladle, to be displayed in that restaurant until next year's soup crawl winner is announced. B Gourmet, 428 Beaver St., won last year with its country ham and sweet potato bisque.

Restaurants can win a special award this year with “The Soup Nazi's Pick.”

The Souper Chef Contest will be held at noon at Wolcott Park, where community contestants will drop off soups to be judged by Laura Zorch, Sarah Sudar, Amanda McFadden and Julia Gongaware, who created eatPGH.com and will sell their book, “The Food Lovers' Guide to Pittsburgh,” featuring recipes from more 50 local chefs, including Chris Bonfili of B Gourmet.

Prizes for the first-, second- and third-place winners have not been determined. Lynne Coppola won for her chicken and rice soup last year.

Mark Yester of Ross, co-founder of North Pittsburgh

Music, will emcee, play music and announce winners at 3 p.m. Forty Sewickley Soup Crawl soup bowls will be sold at the event.

All proceeds from the crawl will benefit Sewickley Community Center Food Pantry and will purchase healthy food for Quaker Valley Middle School's Studio Life after-school program. About $3,000 was raised last year for the food pantry and OASIS (Organized Activity Space in Sewickley) Youth & Teen Center at Sewickley Valley YMCA.

Those attending are asked to take a canned good to donate.

Soup crawl tickets are $10 at Showclix.com which can be accessed from www.SewickleySoupCrawl.com. Tickets will be $15 at the event if all don't sell out in advance.

Cost to enter the Souper Chef Contest is $10 online or at the event, as long as the maximum of 25 contestants has not been reached.

The cost online for both the soup crawl and Souper Chef Contest is $15. Sixteen volunteers and seven committee members are helping with the event.

For more information, visit www.SewickleySoupCrawl.com or www.facebook.com/SewickleySoupCrawl; call Alexandra DeLoia, Village Green marketing director, at 412-741-7530; or email info@vgpsewickley.com.

— Joanne Barron

By Joanne Barron
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Larry Thomas said he promises not to refuse anyone soup when he appears at Big Bang Comics and Collectibles in Sewickley during the Sewickley Soup Crawl.

But, he said, he does expect to yell his famous catch phrase, “No soup for you,” more than a few times for his fans.

Thomas received a 1996 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy nomination for his 1995 role as “The Soup Nazi” in episode six, season seven, of NBC's “Seinfeld.”

During the episode, Thomas yells “No soup for you,” — when those ordering his soup do not follow proper procedure. He brought the line back when he appeared on the “Seinfeld” finale three years later.

Thomas said the words have “some kind of magic.” and he often says them without thinking, even before someone asks him.

“Why would I mind? My mother even makes me say it. I don't know where I'd be now without it,” he said.

Dave Bishop of Moon, who with his wife, Beth, owns Big Bang Comics at 437 Broad St., said it was a no-brainer to have Larry as part of the soup crawl.

“Larry is a huge pop culture icon, and we carry a lot of pop culture collectibles in addition to comic books,” he said.

In the process of trying to arrange for Thomas' appearance, Bishop found out his publicist lives nearby. Lynda Schneider of Franklin Park is founder and owner of Lynda B. Schneider LLC, a public relations, media, event management, promotion and publicity company.

“When I found that out, I thought this was meant to be,” said Bishop, who is paying for Thomas' flight and appearance. Thomas, who lives in Los Angeles but often visits the Sewickley area, said he first got together with the Schneiders about 10 years ago when Schneider bought Soup Nazi memorabilia for her husband, Paul, for Christmas and then invited Thomas to a party at her home.

“Now, they are some of my closest friends in the world,” he said.

Schneider said Thomas is nothing like the Soup Nazi.

“He's such a good actor. He still scares me a little when he does the voice,” she said.

They've done several business ventures, events and charity functions together over the years, and now, Schneider is helping him find a publishing house for his book, “Confessions of a Soup Nazi, an Adventure in Acting and Cooking,” which contains many of his recipes and his memoirs.

Thomas said he has been cooking for most of his life, never dreaming he'd land an acting role as a soup maker, even after Jerry Seinfeld “roared with laughter,” when he auditioned.

Afterward, Seinfeld wanted Thomas to try making the Soup Nazi nice, but when Thomas tried it, Seinfeld didn't laugh. He later told Thomas to do it his way, because it was funnier.

Thomas remembers how surprised he was when Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine Benes) ad-libbed playing the drums on his soup counter.

“I got a lot of credit for how I reacted to her, but I just stared at her. There wasn't anything else I could do,” he said with a laugh.

During autograph sessions, he said he has had fans approach the table mocking the correct soup procedure.

When a couple started to “make out” as they were waiting, Thomas yelled in his Soup Nazi voice, “Nobody kisses in my line,” as he did in the Seinfeld episode, making the crowd laugh.

Thomas now does two or three independent films a year and makes appearances at about four or five comic book and autograph-signing conventions each year.

He has had guest spots on TV shows; done films and commercials; used the character to promote soup kitchens for the homeless; performed in theater productions; and is part of “Project Fedora,” a video game using live-action scenes.

He has had movie roles as the blackjack dealer in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997), Osama bin Laden in “Postal” (2008) and a guest spot as a Saddam Hussein look-alike in the TV series “Arrested Development” (2006).

Thomas has a son, Ben, 20, who he calls “the light of my life.” He said Ben has no interest in acting and wants to design video games, so Thomas said he hopes someday, they will work on a project together.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


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