BWW Reviews: 7th Consecutive Upright Cabaret BROADWAY CHRISTMAS a Winner
For its 7th consecutive year Chris Isaacson presents brought Upright Cabaret's popular A Broadway Christmas to the Catalina Jazz Club for two performances on Tuesday December 11. Featuring an all-star cast of prolific singers, dancers and musicians A Broadway Christmas celebrates the talent of Broadway with the music of the holiday season. Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White was the special guest along with American Idol's David Hernandez serving as co-host with producer Isaacson. With colorful holiday projections, designed by Tim Hicks, playing continuously on two video screens to the left and right of the stage and a terrific four-piece orchestra: Matt Lucich on drums, Alex Balderston on bass, Wesley Smith on sax/flute and musical director Jamieson Trotter at the piano, the sights and sounds of Christmas rang out fervently for a dynamite two-hour set.
Major highlights of the evening included: Carla Renata and a lovely "Count Your Blessings" from White Christmas, tall and stunning Lynsey Shaw, a true gift from Great Britain, with a resounding "Home" from The Wiz, Sylvia Mac Calla and and the silver-toned Ricke Vermont in a delectable duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside", sexy Matt Zarley performing his own rich composition "One More Christmas with You", Chadwick Johnson and "All I Want for Christmas", magnificent tenor Nathan Shrake essaying "O Holy Night", the beautiful Nita Whitaker finding true spirituality in Jason Robert Brown's "Christmas Lullaby", and dynamic Broadway vocalist Kelli Provart with "A New Life". A group called the L.A. Follies provided some fancy Kick-Line moves a la Rockettes and Hollywood movie musical sirens with "Hey Big Spender" from Sweet Charity, a delightful combo of four guys called Oh What a Night! gave us a delicious "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in combo with "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and a female singing group called the Five Hos offered a festive "Walkin' In a Winter Wonderland".
Very special guest star Lillias White debuted a brand new song from Marilyn and Alan Bergman entitled "Through the Eyes of a Child" and then returned for the finale to do three numbers: the hilarious "I Want a Big Fat Santa", her signature tune "The Oldest Profession" as prostitute Sonja from The Life and a potently moving "Silent Night". What can I say about this lady and her enormous talent? Every number she performs is a three act play: she sings and acts up a storm quite unlike anyone else! Brava!
The entire evening was a lot of fun with Santa Claus making an appearance and adorable Isaacson cutting up in entertaining fashion at various points as he introduced the talent and gave away gifts to audience members. A Broadway Christmas will also play Palm Springs on the 14th and La Mirada Theatre on December 16 and 17. Visit their website for more info: