Distilling some spirits in "The Imbible"A few laughs, some a cappella music, a lot of history, and even some tasty cocktails. Do these sound like the ingredients for a successful theater production? They are if you experience “The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking” playing in its third year at the historic Off-Broadway SoHo Playhouse.

Presented by Broadway Theatre Studio, “The Imbible” is the spirited inspiration of world-renowned mixologist and storyteller Anthony Caporale. Founder and Artistic Director of Broadway Theatre Studio, Caporale, backed by The Imbible’s a cappella troop of waiters including Co-producer and Director Nicole DiMattei, takes the audience (seated cabaret-style) along a 10,000-year journey through the history and science of alcoholic beverages. Calling upon his impressive knowledge of beverage history and vast experience as a bartender, Mr. Caporale utilizes his superb talents as an entertainer to educate and delight his guests.

“The Imbible”, which runs just short of two hours, is a “boozy romp through the history of spirits and cocktails” featuring a canon of pop and barbershop-style songs. “We want younger people to become familiar with a cappella and barbershop music,” says Caporale. Guests (the word “audience” just doesn’t capture the intimacy of the performance) are encouraged to lend their knowledge of spirited beverages, as Mr. Caporale and crew delight in interacting with them. Three craft cocktails are included in the admission price. We enjoyed our production’s choices of a shandy (a beer-based drink), a ginger-orange Old Fashioned, and a gin & tonic, each served at an appropriate point in the performance’s narrative.

The SoHo Playhouse is appropriately located in an authentic New York speakeasy – actually one used as a meeting place by the notorious Tammany Society. In addition to his role as Bartender for “The Imbible,” Caporale is also known as the Producer and Host of “Art of the Drink TV”, the first cocktail web show frequently cited by many of today’s leading bartenders as one of the harbingers of the craft cocktail movement. Mr. Caporale currently serves as the Director of Beverage Studies at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education.Anthony Caporale and The Backwaiters in "The Imbible"

Broadway Theatre Studio was founded by Caporale and DiMattei in 2009 as a development workshop and incubator for new American plays and musicals. Hundreds of actors have attended BTS workshops since its inception. BTS has produced original works in the NYC International Fringe Festival (“The Imbible” was first presented here), the Manhattan Repertory Theatre One-Act Play Competition, and the Strawberry One-Act Festival.

Caporale and DiMattei have also written, produced and performed in other Imbible productions. One of these incarnations is perfect for the upcoming holiday season. “The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails” tells the story of Scrooge following his spectral visitations and his desire to throw a party “just like Old Fezziwig.” However, Scrooge is at a total loss as to how to concoct drinks. He summons Marley back for help, and the two of them learn the art of libation preparation with the help of Three Christmas Spirits (note the much-intended pun).

“The Imbible: A Spiritied History of Drinking” is performed Thursdays through Saturdays at the SoHo Playhouse on Vandam St., and “The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails” is performed from Mid-November through December at The Producers’ Club on West 44th St.

If You Go: visit Imbible.nyc for more information.