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PAIRING OFF

 lenise@yesweekly.com

Anice glass of wine and a show go together like popcorn and a movie, or a piping hot cup of coffee and a good book. It’s not just about the entertainment, it’s also the ambiance that can make or break your good time.

Now, for starters, wine can transform your evening of theater in one of two ways. It can relax your mind and body, helping you to leave the day’s troubles behind, settle in and fully absorb whatever the theater puts in front of you. Or, it can make you lose a bit of your wits, causing you to have an enjoyable, albeit entirely different experience than the non-drinking audience.

Thanks to a good friend of mine who accompanied me to Triad Stage’s Snow Queen, I can contest to the latter effect. While I saw the costume designer’s beautiful puppets on stage and how gracefully the props were intertwined with the puppet master, my friend saw a very inappropriate man getting way too cuddly with a deer’s rump. She also couldn’t stop snickering. Point being, wine can enhance your theater experience, but it can also arrest it, so find your line.

With that being said, you may know how to pair your steak with a cabernet sauvignon or your grilled chicken with a nice chardonnay, but do you know how to pair your entertainment?

A cheerful comedy Best paired with a light-bodied white or rose Zinfandel, a light, whimsical wine with a fruity hint. Comedies are the best plays for taking your mind off of your problems and letting your brain press the snooze button a few times. Plays that draw a laugh and keep you smiling are upbeat, light-hearted and made even better with this so-called “easy drinking” wine. Writer’s choice: Clear Bottle Bay, Electric Reindeer or Barefoot.

A toe-tapping musical Best paired with a red-wine blend. A show that takes a chance on spontaneously bursting into song right smack in the middle of a play should be enjoyed by an equally risk-taking wine. Musicals not only mix the art forms of song, dance and acting, but they can also contain a wide range of emotions–a roller coaster that’s only made better by the complex taste of blended grapes. Writer’s choice: Ménage à Trois or Middle Sister.

A sappy romance Best paired with a medium-bodied sweet wine, such as Riesling, Moscato or a chocolate wine. Whether on the stage or in real life, nothing sets the mood like sugar. After all, what’s more romantic than feeding someone a chocolate-covered strawberry? That’s why watching a love story unfold with a glass of your own chocolate-strawberry wine or sweet white wine will resurrect old memories and make the whole experience feel much more interactive. Writer’s choice: Blüfeld or Chocolate Shop.

An intense drama Best paired with a heavy Merlot. For starters, dramas are probably the best genre to pair with any alcohol since things can get pretty intense.

Although be warned that you most definitely will have a more upbeat time, but probably won’t grasp the full story line if you’re not careful—it’s a tight rope to balance on. A play that’s going to hit you hard deserves a glass of something that’s going to hit you harder. Writer’s choice: 181 or 3 Girls.

Now that your palate is fine-tuned and your taste buds are tantalized, I’ll be honest: Most theaters aren’t going to have all of the above selections, if they even allow you to drink in the auditorium at all. For that I say two things: One, buy a bottle at home or at dinner and bring back your “pregame” days, and two, check out the theaters below that have a beer and wine bar.

Triad Stage’s The Pyrle Theatre Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret Paper Lantern Theatre Company (in UpStage Cabaret) Hanesbrands Theatre Carolina Theatre Open Space Café Theatre (in Carolina Theatre) Community Arts Café Barn Dinner Theatre !

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