Review: A Toast to Prohibition

Melanie Gall takes viewers through the era of alcohol prohibition with a series of songs.

By Aubrianna Snow: BTR Writer and Finder of Lost Things

Raise a glass to impressive historical accuracy and a fun musical carried on the shoulders of a lone powerhouse. Melanie Gall stars as the owner of an American speakeasy at the end of the prohibition era and tells the story of prohibition through a series of musical numbers that she performs with the accompaniment of an invisible piano. 

A Toast to Prohibition is an impressively ambitious production, turning the dense historical material surrounding the prohibition of alcohol into a compelling narrative of an early female entrepreneur with a love for the history of her trade facing significant social change. 

The audience has the opportunity to learn a lot through this production as it gives one a feeling of being in a live-action museum at times. Gall speaks to the audience as though they were a patron at their speakeasy, providing a feeling of camaraderie that’s noticeable even for virtual viewers. 

After monologuing about the role of famous gangster Al Capone in the illegal alcohol trade, Gall performs a love song that Capone wrote for his wife during his time at Alcatraz. This inclusion of a real historical gem that flows so naturally within the show is just one testament to the level of thought behind this production. 

With no co-stars to rely on, Gall maintains energy incredibly well throughout the length of the show. While being taken on this historical journey, the audience is led to empathize with the narrator’s uncertainty of what the future of her business might look like with the legalization of “the devil’s rum.” The structure of the production is simple, but the quality is undeniable. Gall takes the audience through a world of cellar liquor, mobsters, and rum-running, set to a background of jaunty piano tunes. 


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