Brunch doesn’t get a lot of respect. Breakfast is the most important, lunch is about socializing and business deals, and dinner is the one we splurge on. But brunch is a frivolous luxury, right?
That is precisely why brunch needs a defender, which has arrived in the form of a musical. You don’t have to be two mimosas deep into bottomless brunch to know why that is the true and natural form to discuss this unique meal.
“The Imbible: Day Drinking” follows on the success of the off-Broadway hit “The Imbible,” which recounts the history of drinking in song. But the cast of four day drinkers are not even sure they want to go to brunch — it’s cliched, you have to get up early, and everyone’s too busy side hustling during the weekend.
The compelling case to get up and go starts coming together from the moment you walk in. Instead of a theater, the audience is seated along a banquette and tables inside the basement bar at New World Stages, and each guest receives a customized Bloody Mary prepared by the cast, along with light brunch bites.
Once we’re all on the same page, it’s time for each of the brunch goers to be convinced to go to brunch. Though the play gets a bit too academic at times (no one needs to know that much about lactobacillus and fermentation), the sung anecdotes about how a Parisian cocktail bar gave rise to brunch culture and learning that bubbles were originally considered a flaw in Champagne has the effect of making you feel strangely protective of this thing you’ve likely mocked as much as you’ve participated in.
Throughout the show, wigs, costumes and accents swap between a bearded hipster earnest about his espresso to an opportunistic conquistador not above using love to get a cutting of a coffee plant.
The absurdity — and academic rigor — are easy to embrace as the cast dispenses two more cocktails over the course of the show. By the end, everyone is so delighted with life that the final song isn’t bittersweet at all. We’ve laughed, we’ve learned, we’ve shared — and next weekend, we’re setting that alarm clock.
If you go
“The Imbible: Day Drinking”
Saturdays, 2 p.m.
Sundays, 3 p.m.
New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St.