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BWW Review: BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY at Barrington Stage Company– A Delightfully Different, Refreshing and NEW Holiday Offering.

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BWW Review: BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY at Barrington Stage Company– A Delightfully Different, Refreshing and NEW Holiday Offering.

A few nights ago, as some families gathered to light Chanukah candles, some were trimming trees, some were wrapping presents, some baking cookies, and all of us in the Berkshires were bracing for a nor'easter that would leave the region blanketed in about 2 feet of snow. It is most certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas and the holiday season.

BWW Review: BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY at Barrington Stage Company– A Delightfully Different, Refreshing and NEW Holiday Offering.
Alysha Umphress & Alan H. Green

While snow is not a major deterrent for most in New England, with only a week to go before the big day, many holiday plans had to be "put on pause" while focus shifted to digging out driveways, sidewalks, mailboxes, cars and of course this year's undeniable, unavoidable, and unprecedented challenges presented by the global pandemic. Weather (pun intended) you live in our Currier and Ives print of a winter wonderland or not, you are most likely dealing with some stuff as we work through this rather unique and particularly challenging most wonderful time of the year. Health experts, friends and family alike, tell us that we should take time out to do nice things and give ourselves little gifts.

BWW Review: BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY at Barrington Stage Company– A Delightfully Different, Refreshing and NEW Holiday Offering.
Joel Waggoner

Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning theatre in Pittsfield, MA in the heart of the Berkshires, and under the leadership of Founder / Artistic Director Juliane Boyd, brings such a gift right into the warmth and safety of your home (wherever that may be) with BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY, a virtual concert starring Alan H. Green, Alysha Umphress, and Joel Waggoner. The BSC team created HOLIDAY GETAWAY as "a holiday concert unlike any other to commemorate a year unlike any other...to spread some much-needed seasonal cheer - and the relief that 2020 is almost over - with an evening of hilarious new holiday songs as well as traditional favorites." Boyd commented: "With so many of us unable to gather together with friends and family, we want to offer a virtual holiday concert to share a lot of laughter and joy as well as truly heartfelt wishes with our community". Mission, most definitely, accomplished!

BWW Review: BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY at Barrington Stage Company– A Delightfully Different, Refreshing and NEW Holiday Offering.
Alysha Umphress

The trio of Alan H. Green, Alysha Umphress, and Joel Waggoner display ample skill and talent as they present viewers with a selection of 18 musical numbers (credited, although I counted a few uncredited bonus tunes) that are fun, often campy, poignant, tender, notably well-balanced, and entertaining. The well chosen selections include pieces in celebration of the major holidays of Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwanza. There are uncommon arrangements of classics comingled with creative, never before heard gems, some created as little as one day prior to the taping. Given that this comes from BSC it should not be surprising that BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY has a distinctly Broadway feel that in moments had me thinking about DREAMGIRLS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE COLOR PURPLE, and even that incomparable duet from Judy and Babs. Side note - while there is nothing one might label as inappropriate for children; the concert and its content is probably more geared for adults, those that get that last reference, than for kids. There is a carol that Stephen Sondheim never wrote (but easily could have) and even a quick reference to Alan H. Green's stint with MISS SAIGON in which we get a peak of him performing "Bui Doi" in German.

BWW Review: BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY at Barrington Stage Company– A Delightfully Different, Refreshing and NEW Holiday Offering.
Alan H. Green

Noteworthy moments are plentiful and include: "Non-Denominational Holiday Song"; a bouncy, fun, swingy rendition of "This Christmas", the dry, sarcastic, yet whimsical presentation of "Snowflake Song"; tradition and beauty in the mash-up of "Christmas Song" with "I'll Be Home For Christmas"; a soulful "Christmastime for the Jews" (remember the SNL sketch); the bizarre slightly demented original, "Advent Carolndar" (from Waggoner and collaborator Julia Madison); "Cutsey Country Chanukah" (one of the uncredited bonuses) featuring some rather unorthodox but both delightful and accurate yodeling of brachot in Hebrew by Umphress and Waggoner, sure to make a Rabbi say Oy; the incredibly informative "Kwanza Song"; Alan H. Green's soulful "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" and "Mary Did You Know". There's Alysha Umphress's sultry presentation of "Merry Christmas Baby"; an updated duet of "Baby Its Cold Outside" from Alan and Alysha that proves once and for all why the song has met with cancel culture; followed by Joel and Alan doing a little bromantic bonding over "There Is A Santa Claus" from ELF the musical. The trio present a "Silent Night" and the not often heard "Love is Christmas" from Sara Bareilles along with "River" from Joni Mitchell, all of which are as beautiful as they truly are tender and mild. There is a powerful rendition of Peter Paul and Mary's "Light One Candle" incredibly appropriate and moving in this year when we faced the undeniable reality of systemic racism exposed through the Black Lives Matter movement. The concert ends with an A Capella encore of "Auld Lang Syne" with haunting harmonies that will not only touch your soul, after this year of "unprecedented" events and challenges, it absolutely leaves you yearning for a return to normality in which we can once again come together through theatre, an art form that allows us to connect over great entertainment of the type and caliber that Barrington Stage Company delivers again and again.

BWW Review: BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY at Barrington Stage Company– A Delightfully Different, Refreshing and NEW Holiday Offering.
Joel Waggoner

BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY has a charming overall feel reminiscent of similar offerings of holidays past, the likes of Andy Williams, Dolly Parton, and Mariah Carey. This is not, however, the holiday concert of your parents or grandparents. It is fresh, refreshing, slightly twisted (in a good way) and delightfully different. BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY comes to us from the Berkshire region's beloved and award-winning Barrington Stage Company but is now available to virtually everyone, everywhere. ACT FAST as this streaming video production is only available until 7:30pm EST on December 23. Readers are encouraged to visit: https://ci.ovationtix.com/34860/store/donations/35892 where BSC'S HOLIDAY GETAWAY is available for viewing with a donation of $25 or more.


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