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Theater Review: The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
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The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking cast

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
Created by Anthony Caporale
New World Stages
New York, NY
February 2017

“To alcohol: the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” – Homer Simpson

On a recent Saturday evening, my wife and I took in The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking show at New World Stages in midtown Manhattan. Created by Anthony Caporale, who is both the founder of the Broadway Theatre Studio and Director of Beverage Studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, the show is like a college history lecture MIXED with the post-class bar crawl. It combines Caporale’s passions for history, mixology, and all things alcohol into a two hours of hilarious song and dances numbers, ridiculous costume changes, legitimate history, and of course ALCOHOL. As a history teacher by day and avid drinker at night, this felt like a show specially designed for me. And for those thinking, “I don’t know, I can drink without the history,” I assure you, the drinks are delicious, and the show is wildly entertaining, thus making the The Imbible‘s value much higher than your average night at a city bar.

Performed in a small barroom setting with casual seating and only a few bar seats, Caporale is joined by his bartenders, Nicole DiMattei (who also directs the show), Ruthellen Cheney, and Luke Schaffer for a trip throughout history starting way back in caveman times when the humankind first discovered that leaving grain in water created drinkable ethyl alcohol. We visit Egypt, India, the Middle East, Europe, and of course Prohibition-era America before the show is over, complete with a video presentation and the bartenders helping Caporale by singing and dancing through the crowd. They also show us some actual science, conducting an awesome in-show experiment. This is as immersive an experience as you can get and the interactions with the crowd provided some of the funniest moments of the night. But enough about that, let’s get to the drinks!

Each ticket to the show guarantees you three signature drinks, a premium ticket gets a fourth by show’s end. The three signature drinks are delicious and different: first a shandy, second a classic gingerbread Old Fashioned, and finally Caporale steps behind the bar to make his favorite, a traditional G&T, the best I ever tasted. There is an authenticity to Caporale and his crew that is truly genuine and makes the show even better. They are more than happy after the show to meet and greet the audience, take pictures, and discuss drinks. I got to speak to Anthony Caporale for a bit after the show. When I told him I taught history, he asked “How’d we do?” to which we both laughed. He added:

“When teachers tell me they enjoyed the show, that to me is the highest compliment. Teachers come in all the time and say they wish they can do something like this for our students, but it’s 21 and over, so we’re working on something with no alcohol content and pure entertainment maybe down the line. To me, I’m all about education, so however we can do that, that’s what important.”

The show, which was called “an absolute must-see” by Huffington Post, is just that and more. Great stories, tremendous entertainment, laugh-out-loud comedy, and delicious drinks, The Imbible is a can’t-miss show for funseekers in NYC. This show is perfect for date night and makes a great gift for the spirits lover in your life. It should come as no surprise that the show is 21 and over only.

The Imbible runs Monday, Thursday, and Friday nights at 8:00 PM, and runs two shows on Saturdays at 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM, all emanating from New World Stages located at 340 West 50th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in New York City. They also feature a Summer show dedicated to pirates and tiki-drinks, and a Winter show featuring Christmas cocktails. Tickets for The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking as well as the featured drink recipes are available on their website at and find them on Twitter at @The_Imbible.

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[Image gallery photos by Daniel Torkel for Geeks Of Doom.]

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