Have you ever wanted to learn more about wine, but have been intimidated by grape varietals, food pairings, or snooty wine snobs? Well, Wine Lovers the Musical made learning about wine fun, informative, and highly entertaining. In a two-weekend run, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS), Wine Lovers, LLC, and Teatro Wego! in Westwego presented this wine-themed spectacle that they referred to as "a wine-tasting comedy show."
Wine Lovers told the story of novice wine enthusiasts Katherine Reese (Bailey Purvis) and Brian Scott (Eli Timm), who, like most of us, enjoy a good glass of vino without knowing our Burgundy from our Boone's Farm. Seeking greater insight, they enroll in a wine class, instructed by the boisterous and wine-obsessed Charles (Alex Martinez Wallace), who enlightens them about wine and even a bit on life in general. As the oenophiliac pupils become better-versed in sipping and swishing, tasting notes, and fermentation, they gradually discover that they also like the "things that go with wine," like romance, companionship … and perhaps even each other.
Audience members got way more than a show with this production. Not only did they get to learn a bit about wine along with the actors on stage, but they also got to taste wine—six different tastings, to be exact—as if they were also pupils in the class. Never mind dinner theater, this was drinking theater!
The show was funny, educational, and extremely enjoyable. The cast sang about everything from screw caps to sherry, and there was even an entire song devoted to White Zinfandel, everyone's favorite sickeningly sweet pink libation. This was a multi-media show that included a wine-centric game show with video screen backdrops, audience participation, and plenty of laughs. And let's not forget, there was wine for all.
Wallace gave a stellar performance. From his charming French accent and grapey quips and wine jokes, to his gestures and dance steps, he was bubblier than a fine champagne. Purvis and Timm also did an excellent job on stage, and their characters were both entertaining and endearing. The show was well-written and witty, and the White Zinfandel song was absolutely genius. And, oh yeah, they gave us wine.
If only my own sommelier class had been this much fun!
I'm very sorry to see this show close—like a good bottle of wine, it's just a shame when it's all gone. I can think of many wine lovers who would love to see Wine Lovers. So, here's hoping they bring it back someday for an encore performance, a new vintage. In the meantime, at least we can still drink wine. Here's to a theatrical success. Cheers!
A special shout-out to the creative team behind the show:
Holly-Anne Palmer is the Lead Producer of Wine Lovers the Musical, the creator of Happy Hour Productions, and the Creative Development Director for the Broadway Artists Alliance of New York City.
Michael Green (Conceiver/Book/Lyrics/Music) is a wine and spirits guru whose infinte knowledge on these topics greatly contributed to this show.
Travis Kramer (Book) is a creator, writer, and lyricist of many incredible theatrical productions, as well as an author of feature articles and an illustration artist.
Gary Negbaur (Book/Music/Lyrics) writes music for theater, film, and recording artists, and is also a pianist and singer with a successful solo career. Check him out at www.garynegbaur.com.