Wine and music meet

Show kicks off national tour in Saratoga Springs

"Wine Lovers" is a wine tasting musical.

"Wine Lovers" is a wine tasting musical. Submitted photo

— What do you get when you combine Broadway actors, a touring musical and a wine-drinking audience? You get “Wine Lovers.”

“The show is the world’s first wine tasting musical,” said Holly-Anne Ruggiero, director and lead producer.

Over about 70 minutes, audience members drink six glasses of wine unique to the city or region the musical is in on that tour stop. That means no show is exactly the same.

“[The actors] have to learn new lines at each venue. Most venues work with local vineyards … we’ll write all the lines and the actors will learn them,” said Ruggiero. “What’s so wonderful about the show is it’s a full evening out since you’re getting the tasting and the musical, it’s perfect to pair with going to dinner before or afterward.”

The innovative theater production will kick-off its national tour in Saratoga Springs at Universal Preservation Hall from Aug.9 to the 21. The show already had successful, sold-out runs in New York City and New Orleans before Ruggiero (who worked on “Jersey Boys”) was tapped as director.

“We’re really excited about Saratoga,” said Ruggiero. “It starts a really unique dialogue amongst people because the nature of wine tasting is based in community, so people all start talking to each other. Halfway through the show the whole audience is interacting with each other and some go out for dinner after the show who didn’t know each other before. Saratoga is perfect because there are so many tourists and it’s the absolute best opportunity to bring all these people together for this one show.”

The musical is set up like a wine tasting and as the story moves along, the audience samples the wine right along with the actors. Broadway actors Kristy Cates from “Wicked,” Bryan McElroy from “Jersey Boys” and Jamie Wax from “Treme” make up the small cast.

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