Arts & Culture » Arts Stories & Interviews

Come on-a Blue's HAOS for Orlando-centric eatertainment that beats a Las Vegas supper club

By

comment

Thanks to social distancing, I'm not spending as much time as usual at my friends' houses this holiday season, but I made an exception to visit Blue Star's HÄOS on Church Street, the freshly opened bar/restaurant/performance venue that I previewed in September. Since then, a stunning renovation was completed that highlights the historic building's brick bones and adds an opulent atmosphere with vintage furnishings and whimsical artwork on the walls.

Upstairs is an intimate cabaret space that feels like the upscale offspring of Theatre Downtown's lobby and the Footlight Theater. (Fittingly, former Parliament House owners Don Granatstein and Susan Unger were in attendance last Friday to support Blue's new venture.) Unlike the much-mourned P-House, this HÄOS' bar specializes in elaborate craft cocktails with hipster ingredients like aquafaba and pink peppercorns, and a "mask-sip-mask" policy is strictly enforced. My rye-based "New York State of Mind" was intensely sour, but the champagne & Chambord "Christmas in Miami" was simply mahvelous.

The same could be said about this season's revival of The Golden Gals: A Christmas Musical, a spot-on singing satire of the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls that christened Blue's new stage. Director-producer Ginger Minj, who also co-stars as Blanche, had ambitions plans for TV Land Live's season that were derailed by 2020, but this tightly paced in-the-round production inspires hope for the series' resurgence next year, as well as HÄOS' potential for immersive theater.

The HAOS kitchen is run by chefs Michael Magonigle and Andrew Jones - PHOTO BY SETH KUBERSKY
  • Photo by Seth Kubersky
  • The HAOS kitchen is run by chefs Michael Magonigle and Andrew Jones

The crack comedic cast also features Gidget Galore as Rose, Mr./Ms. Adrian as Sophia and Doug Ba'aser as Stan. Extra applause goes to Divine Grace's dead-on Dorothy, who evokes Bea Arthur's vocal and facial tics with eerie accuracy, as well as preshow vocalists Josh Roth and Heather Abood, whose lip-synced classic commercials make the scene changes side-splitting.

Aerialist Mariah Wise and mime Ronnie "ronniep0p" Stripling - PHOTO BY SETH KUBERSKY
  • Photo by Seth Kubersky
  • Aerialist Mariah Wise and mime Ronnie "ronniep0p" Stripling

Downstairs, Chef Michael Magonigle's après-show menu exceeds all my expectations; I practically licked the brown butter off my salmon's plate. Paired with a rotating roster of skilled variety artists (mime Ronnie "ronniep0p" Stripling, aerialist Mariah Wise and vocalist Evan Fagan, during my visit) who entertain while Blue herself plays DJ, HÄOS provides an eatertainment experience that exclusive Vegas supper clubs could envy.

And the best part of all? Employment for a few more Orlando performers, just in time for the holidays.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.