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From Bronxville Women's Club to Cruise Theater

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Some people might find wine tastings boring, but the fun is amped when the drink's descriptions are sung on a cruise.

Liz Muller, a 15-year theater veteran and member of the Bronxville Women's Club, recently served as the musical director on the Norwegian Cruise Lines' ship, The Pearl. On June 17, she departed from Seattle, Wash., and made the more than 1,500-mile trip to Juneau before returning on June 24.

The musical "Wine Lovers," directed by Holly-Anne Ruggiero, accompanied a wine tasting. The songs spoke about six different wines as audiences drank them, telling the crowd where the grapes were from and what dish it was best paired with.

"Audiences go crazy for it," Muller said. "They think it's the greatest thing because they're learning. And it's not as stuffy as some wine tastings are because it's fun. It's a really clever, new show. It's super cute."

Muller's favorite part about being on the ship was "getting to see all of the backstage stuff" in the ship's theater. Muller spent time with the technical crew as the musical was being performed. Seeing the innards of the ship was a great experience, she said, because even as a musical director, it is not something that everyone gets to see.

"I'm lucky," she continued. "I've been involved with theater forever. I've never done anything else. I went to school for theater, I acted professionally, and I've been directing and writing for years."

Muller is a director, producer, lyricist and actor at "PiPE DREAM theater" and participates in many of the Bronxville Women's Club's theater productions. Aside from Bronxville theater, Muller said that she was thrilled to have the opportunity to direct aboard a cruise and visit and new part of America.

"Alaska is beautiful," she said. "When you go on a cruise, you typically think to the Caribbean, but Alaska is really beautiful. And this time of year, it's light all the time. The mountains and gorgeous, the glaciers and gorgeous. Everything's really pretty."

And Muller was not going to pass up the opportunity to go swimming with the Ketchikan Mountains as a backdrop. While the musical's crew did not get much down time, they jumped into the pool when the cruise ship was empty and docked in Alaska.

They splashed around in the water and, soon, their childhood spirit came out as Muller and the choreographer had the urge to use the two-story, yellow, twisty slide. As soon as they cascaded into the water, the handful of senior citizens who they shared the pool with climbed to the top of the slide, joining in the fun.

"That might be my favorite memory of the cruise," Muller said, giggling. "These people were in their 60s. It was hilarious. These older, bald guys just going down the twisty slide, laughing – it was great. You don't see that every day."

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