Sips and Songs- A Wine Lover's Musical
Photo Courtesy: Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical / Russ Rowland

Sips and Songs: A Wine Lover’s Musical

Opening this May at The Jerry Orbach Theater in New York, “Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical” presents an Off-Broadway experience that combines the love of wine with the vibrancy of musical theater. Directed by Jamibeth Margolis with musical direction by Alec Bart, the show assures to captivate audiences with its unique premise and engaging performances.

The musical revolves around five wine-loving women who meet every Wednesday under the guise of a book club or yoga class, but the real purpose is much simpler: to enjoy wine and discuss their lives. This setup offers a narrative backdrop reminiscent of “Sex and the City,” but with a twist—each scene is accompanied by a wine tasting, making it a truly immersive experience.

Creators Jenne Wason and Joseph Benoit have crafted a story and score that resonate deeply with adult audiences looking for a night of entertainment and relatability. Wason describes “Winesday” as a “grape escape from our batsh*t crazy world,” emphasizing that it’s designed to be an enjoyable, social night out. She ensures the musical touches on the nuances of friendship and personal connection, all while guests enjoy curated wine tastings that enhance the storytelling.

Sips and Songs

Photo Courtesy: Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical / Russ Rowland

Creators Jenne Wason and Joseph Benoit

Benoit, providing the musical landscape for Wason’s vision, approached the score with a deep understanding of the thematic elements. Despite not being a drinker himself, he immersed himself in the culture and terminology of wine, enriching the musical’s authenticity. The result is a score that is not only reflective of the story’s emotional depth but also its light-hearted, celebratory nature.

The music of “Winesday” is as varied as the wines served, drawing influences from genres as diverse as those found in vintage records to contemporary hits. This eclectic mix ensures that there’s something musical for every palate, mirroring the variety of wines on offer. Benoit’s compositions cleverly weave thematic elements of friendship and celebration throughout, making each song an integral part of the narrative.

Moreover, the musical doesn’t shy away from humor and cultural references, which are seamlessly integrated into both the dialogues and the songs. This aspect was particularly challenging yet rewarding when adapting the musical into French for the version titled “VINdredi.” Benoit’s familiarity with both languages helped navigate the subtleties of translating humor and cultural nuances, ensuring the integrity of the musical was maintained across linguistic boundaries.

Jenne Wason, known for her thematic versatility in theater, from dark comedies to family holiday musicals, finds “Winesday” particularly close to her heart. It stands out as a celebration of female friendship inspired by her own life experiences. The authenticity of these relationships is palpable throughout the performance, providing a strong emotional core to the musical.

According to Wason and Benoit, integrating wine tasting into the performance elevates the traditional theater-going experience. This unique feature has been met with overwhelming positivity from audiences, enhancing the communal and interactive nature of the show. As the Wine Steward guides the audience through each pairing, there’s a shared moment of discovery and enjoyment that complements the unfolding story on stage.

“Winesday” not only reflects Wason’s commitment to showcasing strong female leads but also aligns with her broader mission of highlighting influential women in theater and beyond. Each performance is a testament to the power of storytelling and the shared human experiences that resonate with diverse audiences.

As the musical prepares for its debut, both creators are excited about the potential of “Winesday” to touch hearts and tickle palates. The show, with its innovative blend of narrative and wine, invites audiences to laugh, cry, and raise a glass to the enduring spirit of friendship. Whether you’re a wine aficionado or a theater enthusiast, “Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical” offers a refreshing twist to a night out in New York and  to leave your spirits lifted and your taste buds tantalized.

A Wine Lover's Musical

Photo Courtesy: Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical / Russ Rowland

Cast of Winesday: Amanda Lea LaVergne, Jennifer Diamond, Debra Thais Evans, Dawn Cantwell and Shannen Hofheimer. Photo by Russ Rowland

The Winesday cast includes Dawn Cantwell (Broadway: 1776, WICKED), Jennifer Diamond (NYC: Let Me Be Me), Debra Thais Evans (National Tour: Hairspray), Shannen Hofheimer (Regional: Anything Goes), Amanda Lea LaVergne (Broadway: Annie, The People in the Picture)  and   Michael Valvo (National Tour: Cirque Musica: Holiday Wonderland) with understudy Suzanne Dressler. 

The creative team includes Molly Goldberg (Costume Consultant), Kathryn Eader (Lighting Designer),  Kimberly S. O’Loughlin (Sound Designer), Merete Muenter (Associate Director/Movement Coordinator),  Joseph Benoit (Orchestrator),  Julie Gottfried (Production Stage Manager), Thea McRae (Assistant Stage Manager), Jamibeth Margolis (Casting), LDK Productions (General Management). Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical is executive produced by Lisa Dozier Shacket. 

Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical is currently playing at the Jerry Orbach Theater at The Theater Center located at 210 West 50 Street, the box office number is (212) 921-7862. The musical will play Wednesday at 7:30 PM, Thursday at 5 PM (Happy Hour Performance), and Sunday at 1 PM (Brunch Time Entertainment). 

All tickets come with a wine tasting (18+, nonalcoholic tasting options available). Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.winesdaymusical.com (or on Ticketmaster.com/ (800) 653-8000). 

Published by: Nelly Chavez

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