BWW Review: A BEEF & BOARDS CHRISTMAS Reins in the Holiday Season at Beef & Boards
There comes a time during every holiday season when you finally tire of the constant stream of Christmas music and cliché tunes. But then you turn the radio on, hear your favorite, and immediately sing along with every single syllable. That is the unquenchable joy that wells up as you watch A BEEF & BOARDS CHRISTMAS. It has nostalgia, comedy, a twist of jazz, and romance all encompassed in a glittering array of costumes, lights, and sounds.
Nothing seems to signal the arrival of the holidays more than Santa Claus, and the show did not disappoint its audience members, young or old. Santa emanates his usual good cheer throughout a few numbers, but that twinkle in his eye really comes to life as he sings with Alvin and the Chipmunks and even dons an Elvis costume to sing out his cheer. You should also be on the lookout for some "dad jokes" Santa style, sure to make your own bowl full of jelly jiggle.
I was also moved by the spirit of this festive time when I heard the jazzy additions of "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" and "Cool Yule," both of which highlighted the lovely voice of Renee Jackson, who recently appeared in GHOST at Beef & Boards. Her warm and full timbre filled the stage and gave the music added depth.
Some other notable performances were "Do You Hear What I Hear?" performed by Marisa Rivera and the interludes provided by the Beef & Boards Orchestra. Marisa's performance was a powerhouse of clear and well-rounded tone quality that resonated beautifully in the theater. The orchestra, who too often takes a backseat to other performers, actually had a moment to shine in between the other numbers. It gave the audience a chance to appreciate how much they add to every song you hear.
Beef & Boards seemed determined to make sure the show's 25th anniversary was even more special by featuring its 24-year host, Kenny Shepard. His ready smile and quick dance moves show exactly why he has lit up their stage for this show all but one year. They also were sure to include glittering gowns, a myriad of costume changes, and even a flying friend with a red nose graced the stage. The best of the holidays was all featured in a flurry of fun and frolic you will not want to miss.
With Thanksgiving barely being survived and a nutty Black Friday put behind me, it was time for the 25th (and final) A BEEF & BOARDS CHRISTMAS! Celeste and I took in the holiday spectacular Saturday night and holy reindeer Batman(!) do we even feel Christmas-sy now! The sold-out crowd certainly seemed to enjoy it as much as we did.
All of the cheery entertainment was presented dressed in an avalanche of costumes in a cacophony of colors. Throughout the grand total of 35 musical numbers, I think I spotted only one repeated costume. The show is a wonderful presentation of coloring and assorted styles, created by Beef & Boards amazing costumer, Jill Howe, which added to our enjoyment throughout the show.
However, I would never forget to mention the luscious holiday-themed buffet Chef Ward whipped up for the celebration. Featuring roast beef, turkey, stuffing, veggies and much, much more... I'd have to admit, I had seconds...
If you like Christmas music, need to get into the holiday spirit, or need to cheer up an old Scrooge, this variety show will make you smile and feel cheery that the holiday season has once again arrived. A BEEF & BOARDS CHRISTMAS continues thru December 23rd. For the schedule and more information, you can hop over to http://www.beefandboards.com or call the box office (317-872-9664).