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

— “I think performers always want to be working on a show that they have a lot to do and the characters are really rich and that’s the case with this show,” said Ruggiero. “Performers very much like to be able to originate roles …they’re really originating these roles so whatever stamp they put on these roles, whoever plays them in the future will be a little in the show.”

The interactive aspect of the musical enhances the production, said Ruggiero.

“It’s a totally different experience … whether you choose it or not, there’s audience interaction because once people start drinking six glasses of wine, some [actors] tend to talk to the audience or feel like they’re more involved,” said Ruggiero.

Cates’ “claim to fame” so far has been her participation in the original “Wicked” on Broadway where she was the understudy for the lead role of Elphaba and went on to play her on the national tour and in the Chicago production. She said even though she hasn’t actually put on a “Wine Lovers” performance yet, the experience is already much different than traditional theater.

“In Broadway there’s so many more elements with costume and sets and sounds and sorts of stuff. Everything is bigger and more showy,” said Cates. “This show the audience is smaller, close to us and tasting the wine with us, so even though we don’t directly address them, it feels more intimate and interactive and just not something you get in a Broadway show at all.”

The nature of the production itself is also new.

“This is an educational piece too because truly as we learn about the wine, the audience is too so it’s a little more connected than a Broadway spectacular,” said Cates.

Her interest in “Wine Lovers” was sparked from her childhood in California where she was friends with the children of various winery owners.

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