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Need & desire: A look at Lake Geneva's newest theater

Need & desire: A look at Lake Geneva's newest theater

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Beth Tumas is beaming.

In February, the owner of Lake Geneva’s The Bottle Shop opened Grapevine Theatre next to her wine bar and store.

After turning a magician’s venue into an intimate setting for live events, Tumas began hosting concerts and comedy nights, expanding The Bottle Shop into something a little more unique.

With shows at the Grapevine selling out through minimal effort, Tumas seemed to relish what the future holds for hew latest endeavor.

She discusses several possible future events, expressing a desire to see a community theater group perform in the theater, a murder mystery night —anything that provides something unique for audiences and performers.

“I’m eclectic,” said Tumas. “I think I’m fun, and I want fun things around me.”

She said she was encouraged to take over the theater by magician Tristan Crist, who designed it and performed there for almost four years.

In December 2015, Crist opened the theater at 609 W. Main St., Lake Geneva. The Bottle Shop is located at 617 W. Main St.

Crist built a larger theater at 100 N. Edwards Blvd., which opened in June 2019.

He wanted to give Tumas the keys to the old place.

“Beth and I always had a great partnership when we were located next to the Bottle Shop, and when I had the opportunity to hand the venue off to her, I knew she would do great things with it,” said Crist.

Tumas wanted to add to the number of fun venues in Lake Geneva.

She renovated the place, extending the shabby chic/industrial loft design scheme of The Bottle Shop into the theater’s annex, and found herself with a hit right out the gate.

Tickets to Grapevine’s monthly comedy nights sold out the first night.

“If I’m selling out a show, that tells me there’s a need, there’s a desire,” Tumas said.

She’s increasing the comedy nights to twice a month during the summer.

With the number of stand-up comedy events growing in the area, Tumas believes what sets hers apart are the number of performers.

Four to five comedians perform at each show.

There are also two shows a night. Each one lasts about an hour and 20 minutes.

Another success was musician Tim Johnson. “He’ll be back,” said Tumas,” a frequent visitor.”

Grapevine is available for rent. Previously, the space has been used for a chili cook-off and business events.

For Tumas, it solves the space problem she was having with the Bottle Shop, which has expanded slightly ever since bought the business almost five years ago.

She opened The Bottle Shop after purchasing the former Pop More Corks from David Biegemann, who was a customer of hers.

Tumas worked for a wine distributor.

“So I came in on a beautiful March day, similar to this, a little sunnier, and he invited me to buy his shop,” she said. “I am blessed every day that he trusted me with his dream.”

Offering beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages as well as various wines, The Bottle Shop also is place where people can sit, enjoy their libations and play games.

The Bottle Shop and Grapevine complement each other. Shop events can happen next door, and people waiting for a theater event to start can enjoy beverages in the shop.

And the wellspring of ideas for Tumas probably won’t run dry. When asked where she gets all her energy, she gave credit to Diet Pepsi.

“See? I could be the comedian,” she laughed.

For more information about Grapevine Theatre and The Bottle Shop, email beth@thebottleshoplakegeneva.com, visit www.thebottleshoplakegeneva.com or call 262-348-9463.

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