A Spirited History of Drinking: The Musical Comedy

Theater, Interactive New World Stages , Hell's Kitchen Open run
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(37user reviews)
The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Blase

[Note: The review below is for a 2014 version of this show, which was then titled The Imbible. A revised version now plays at New World Stages. A different, brunch-theater edition, titled Day Drinking, plays on weekend matinees.]

Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock

 

By: Amelia Bienstock

Posted:

Venue name: New World Stages
Contact:
Address: 340 W 50th St
New York

Cross street: between Eighth and Ninth Aves
Transport: Subway: C, E, 1 to 50th St
Price: $85 (includes three cocktails)
Event phone: 800-447-7400
Event website: http://imbible.org
Static map showing venue location
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails) Book online
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails)
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails) Book online
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails) Book online
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails)
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails) Book online
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails)
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails) Book online
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails)
    • New World Stages $85 (includes three cocktails) Book online
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:30
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|37
2 people listening
1 of 1 found helpful

I had an amazing time seeing "The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking", last night. I learned a lot from the show, even as a a bartender and cocktail enthusiast. The show sets up a very nice timeline as it walks you through the evolution of humans through alcohol. The acapella is amazing, and the cast of the show is extremely talented and also very funny. The show is performed in a small basement bar in Soho. There is a lot of crowd interaction and this makes the show very personal and engaging. After the show, Anthony Caporale, the narrator and creator of the show made us drinks and answered questions behind the bar.

Overall, a fantastic experience. Would highly recommend to anyone, cocktail enthusiasts or newbies.

1 of 1 found helpful

Funny, entertaining, engaging and SO informative! I went on a date and we had an awesome time!



I’m not really into drinking but I gave the show a try anyway. I originally thought the show would be more like a comedy show where the audience gets more drunk and disruptive as the show goes on. To my surprise, the show was actually incredible funny, original and educational. This show was a ton of fun and I highly recommend it, even to non drinkers.


Um, the drinks aren't FREE and they're far from "the best drinks you'll ever have."  If you want to consider the drinks free then the show is the most overpriced show I've ever seen in my life.  Not only are the tickets $85, but the theater charges an insane fee on top of it.  Aside from that, the show itself is mostly fun, entertaining and mildly educational, but some of the comedy is a little played out.  From the sex positive drunk female characters to the overly effeminate twerk-every-chance-he-gets character, not very original in my opinion.  But maybe I'm a jaded New Yorker and this is a great touristy thing to do.  Not bad, per se, but I won't be back and I cannot recommend it for most people I know.


What an awesome way to spend a few hours. A really interesting history lesson and three of the best drinks you will ever have. Entertaining, enjoyable and worth the visit.


Really cool way to get some looks into different aspects of the history of alcohol. The drinks they make are delicious, and some of the songs are catchy. Intimate atmosphere as well makes it fun to be a part of. Would recommend!


My husband and I received tickets to this show as a gift. It was an absolutely awesome show and evening! I am not a big drinker but I had so much fun. I learned a lot about the history of drinking and really enjoyed the drinks as well! We enjoyed the experience so much we even got tickets for the Rum and Pirates shows too- which was also amazing! Always excited to see what else the team will put together! Hoping to make all of the various shows #bucketlist!


Saw this show and I had a great time.  It was  interesting and funny at the same time and of course FREE drinks!!  Great way to spend an afternoon. Hey where else can you go - learn some fun facts and drink while doing it!!


I went to see the Imbible back when it first started, in the basement of an old speakeasy. The innovative, hilarious, and educational show was so great that I told all my friends about it when I got home. Learning about drinking while drinking fantastic cocktails? What could be better?


Great fun and some drinks while you are there ! Would go again. AND its Educational, learn that the Egyptian were in on distilling long before Europeans. Loved the experience, and my wife and I have been to at least 100 shows.


The ImBible was an amazing show. Extremely entertaining and knowledgeable. I highly recommend this to anybody looking for a fun evening in Manhattan. Three amazing drinks and popcorn to boot!


I loved it! The adult beverages (yes there is alcohol in them) are actually part of the show. The show itself is full of history, comedy, and singing. It was unlike any other show I've ever seen. Highly recommend!


I loved everything about this show plain and simple. The actors, music, the opportunity to interact during and after the show, and most especially the fun history lesson. I plan on seeing the other shows, and would recommend the same to anyone else.


I saw the show with a friend and we both had a great time! We learned some history, sipped some cocktails and most of all had FUN getting in the holiday spirit. Great choice for a night out with friends or date night.


This Show was Absolutely Fantastic !! We saw this Show in Sept. 2017, and we have been a Loyal Fan ever since ! The Cast is Great and the Atmosphere is Funny and Relaxing... This and the rest of their Productions are a Must see Events.... You Will Not Be Dissapointed in any Way !!! Trust Me !!


The show was fantastic!! Was taking a bartending course at the time and the show made the history of spirits so much fun. Will definitely go again next time I'm in NYC!


The Imbible was SO MUCH FUN!!! We got to learn about the history of alcohol and spirits, while tasting some classic mixology recipes!! The cast made us laugh with their songs & delivery. Highly recommend - great off broadway show!


Fun, lively atmosphere. Really unique experience. Would highly recommend, especially if you like drinking


I have seen many Broadway Shows/ Off Broadway and this by far was one of my favorites! I love the smaller setting and how engaged the actors were with the audience, there is not a bad seat in the house. I recommended it to my sister in law who is not a theater fan and she loved it! I will be going back and highly recommend this to anyone! 


Great experience. Went last year and enjoyed the smaller theater and intimate environment. Will totally go again. 10/10 would recommend.


Finding a play we could get our west coast college age kids to agree to see with us on our NYC trip was a challenge. We agreed on this one (the drinks helped) and it was a winner. The intimate setting, cast interactions and surprisingly interesting history made for a fun afternoon. They even asked to see more plays, and this one ended up as the favorite. Highly recommended!

tastemaker

Before immersive theater became common, Imbible had a fun way of getting the audience involved and tipsy. 


They give you the history of the liquor/drinks they give out during the show while singing and dancing. The whole play isn't long, but it's definitely entertaining! 


We had a great time last night at The Imbible. This was true edutainment!! We laughed, we learned and we drank!! I can't wait to try the Old Fashioned recipe we drank. Thanks for creating a wonderful evening for me and my friends!!


Seen this show 5 times and can't get enough! Love the songs and the history. Also the 3 free drinks are very well made! The New World Stages venue is a huge improvement over the Soho playhouse where the show used to be.


65th Birthday outing with family.  Great fun and a learning experience too!  Very enjoyable! Highly recommended!


Lots of fun. Time Out picked a winner here. It's best not to know what to expect; we were pleasantly surprised at the whole evening!


Loved this show. Interactive, informative, entertaining. The venue was quaint and perfect for this show - a speakeasy. Very reasonably priced especially since you get 3 drinks for your ticket.


You should check out this show now playing at the SoHo Playhouse. It was the perfect cocktail of history, chemistry, music and humor. Oh and 3 drinks built into the price, very nice indeed.


It is the musical history of booze, held in a small authentic, intimate, speak easy atmospheres. The writer and star of the show (and yes, bartender) Anthony Caporale has created a very unique, one-of-a-kind experience and the cast of funny, talented actors \singers is SNL meets Barbershop Quartet meets Cheers.


You gotta go! Enjoy!!


This show is a history lesson set to fun and A capella!  How much fun!  A learning audience participation.  Great cast and lovely voices. 


If you're in NYC and you like to drink,

I'm not surprised. 
Also, you should go see this show "The Imbible." 
It's a show on the history of booze as told through storytelling, gags, a capella and science so thick that I even saw the CERN supercollider.
It's an incredible combination of the early evolution of booze (kills bacteria, cavemen live longer) and all the innovations by clever human monkeys looking to get twisted (those Arab alchemists who learned to distill the spirit of beer into al-kohool) into the First War on Drugs (the Noble Experiment that created speakeasies like this one). Anthony Caporale is a singing researcher world class mixologist who transmorgified a two hour academic lecture on alcohol into an engaging show with lovable music theater nerds.
It's actually exactly what I'm trying to do with my cannabis book so it was encouraging to see the same methods employed on a engaging wonderful show where you get served excellent drinks by while learning from lovely hosts. 
Highly recommended for any boozehounds or those who love them.

This has all the makings of being the next Sleep No More - that hot downtown show that you just can't get a ticket to!


For your ticket price you get a fun, enjoyable show, several great musical moments, and three incredibly well-made drinks. The story itself is a great narrative about the history of liquor's uses throughout the ages so you know you're going to like what they're talking about. The performers are upbeat, energetic, and make this performance a blast for groups, dates, or anyone looking for a very different Friday night experience.


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 


I love this play!  I'm a huge drunk, ahem, I meant lover of the spirits!  So, it was to my delight that this hilarious play came with FREE DRINKS!  The cast was great and full of energy.  While the story, which was about the evolution of alcohol and spirits, was as refreshing as the drinks!  KEEP 'EM COMING, I say!


As a bartender, history nerd, and lover of musicals, I found this show right up my alley. Excellent cast - amazing voices, funny, and knowledgeable. It's a really cool intimate atmosphere, almost feels like you're part of the show. Plus, you get 3 drinks included in your ticket price - can't go wrong! 


A delightful surprise!

I didn't know what to expect going into it, I've never been to a fringe festival show before... Any show that hands me a drink as soon as I walk in, is a show for me!

The Imbible takes you from cavemen discovering beer, to distillation created by the egyptions, and wrapping it all up with prohibition.

To help further explain/entertain the audience, they use popular songs and standards with barber shop styled harmonies that coincide with each history lesson.

I would highly recommend the show to everyone, if even if theater is not their thing.


I absolutely loved the show!  I found myself alternating between laughing, sipping a great cocktail, and telling myself, "I've never look at that event from that perspective."  I appreciate, fast-paced, intellectual, thought-provoking content, and Anthony and team deliver exactly that.

The show might be the first ever "Docu-musical," and is a perfect combination of the two styles.  It's is a fascinating, casual-toned, fast-paced and often hilarious lecture where Anthony's monologue is supplemented in the by three background actors helping tell the various stories and often break into song via barbershop quartet.  I've never seen anything like it before and Anthony is the perfect host to guide you through the content.  And the show includes three drinks!  Can we please make this a new off-broadway standard???

0 of 1 found helpful

If a reviewer can be considered a “show taster” for future audiences, I would say “I survived with a critical case of cramps.”

Since the actors had no ability or desire to connect with the audience, I found myself connecting with the audience, whose faces all looked like they had a terrible case of physical cramps, maybe from the spiced pumpkin old fashion.

To add insult to injury, the New World Stages staff are extremely and unnecessarily rude. They have no appreciation of customers and take advantage of the fact that while we as customers have the power of choice on what shows to see, we don’t have the power of deciding what venues to see them at.