BWW Review: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL at Coterie Theatre In Crown Center
Rediscover RUDOLPH The Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Musical, now on stage at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City. Relive the nostalgia of childhood while introducing a new generation to one of the most joyous stories of the season with the rambunctious return of Rudolph. This stage adaptation, by Robert Penola, with Timothy Splain's musical arrangements transforms the animated favorite into an energy packed stage show that the young, and young at heart, will absolutely love. PARENTS: turn off the tv/computer and bring your kids to this show - they'll be happy you did - and, like Rudolph, "you'll go down in history!"
Sam the Snowman narrates the story (like Burl Ives did in the original) as the audience is magically transported to the land up north where Santa and the elves are preparing for Christmas. With a little Holly Jolly and some Jingle, Jingle we find out that Mr and Mrs Donner have a new addition to their family, a little dear named Rudolph. However, Rudolph has a rather outstanding feature which happens to be a bright red nose that "glows".
Hoping to make his son fit in, Donner devises a cover to hide the nose, but it can't be contained. As Rudolph and the other deer join in their "reindeer games" they discover and ridicule, Rudolph's profound proboscis. Meanwhile, in Santa's workshop, young elf Hermey just can't find the joy in building a toy and yearns to be...a dentist. Hermey soon learns he just won't fit into the elfin way and joins up with Rudolph as they head out on their own, as misfits.
As they begin their quest they run into Yukon Cornelius, a miner in search of riches. The new found friends adventures find them floating on an ice berg to the island of misfit toys. They learn that the toys yearn to be in the arms of children, but they need help to get there. Rudolph and his friends promise to help them, as they return to tell Santa.
When Rudolph gets home, he learns that both his parents and his sweetheart, Clarice, have gone missing while searching for him in the winter storm. With a little help, Rudolph locates his family in an ice cave, but danger awaits in the form a gigantic "abominable" snow creature. As the group is about to be overcome, it is Hermey to the rescue, as he uses his dental skills to "remove the threat". However, fate has it that Yukon is pulled over the edge by the abominable and disappears.
The family and friends return to Santa's where they learn that Christmas is in jeopardy as the raging storm threatens to cancel the holiday. Santa is pondering how to get out of the dilemma when he sees Rudolph's nose and realizes it can lead the way through the blinding weather. With a knock at the door - it's Yukon who is safe after all, since "Bumbles bounce!" Everyone finally discovers that the very things that might seem to make one a misfit are really the best things about them, after all.
Ron Lackey is Sam the Snowman and his rich and velvety vocals are smooth as new fallen snow. Lackey immediately draws the audience (especially the children) right into the story, without reservation. Tony J. Pulford bounds on to the stage with the energy and innocence that is Rudolph, and when paired with his pal Hermey (played by David LeVota they truly captivate. Elise Campagna, as Clarice, is a sweet sweetheart with a lyric quality to her voice that is sweeter still. Campagna sounds as if Disney will soon be knocking at her door. Zachary York and Deanna Mazdra are Santa and Mrs. & Mrs. just as they should be.
Martin Buchanan, as Yukon and Comet, is creative and agile in dual roles. Jake Golliher plays the dutiful father, Donner and Roan Ricker is feisty as Fireball. The wonderful supporting cast includes: Zach Faust, Matthew Grigoratos, Friz Sullivan, Robin Robles, Ashley Elliott-Rowe, Catie Wolff, Molly Moore, Kimberly Girkin, Ben Renfrow, Jay Love, and David Michael Hall.
Director William J. Christie's artistic team includes: Anthony T. Edwards - Musical Director, Danielle Renee - Production Stage Manager, Chloe Robbins - Assistant Stage Manager, Marc Wayne - Choreographer, Scott Hobart - Set Designer/Technical Director, Jarrett Bertoncin - Lighting Designer, Georgianna Londre Buchanan - Costume Designer, David Kiehl - Sound & Production Designer, Caitlin Brisendine - Properties/Puppets, Scott Stack House - Dialect Coach, Amanda Kibler - Content Editor, House Managers - Melissa Trierweiler, Lydia Miller, Alex Walters, Andy Perkins, Michael James, and Martin Buchanan
RUDOLPH is a fantastic performance for the entire family and is performing through December 30, 2018 (60 minute run time without an intermission).
Performances are at the Coterie Theatre, level one of Crown Center, at 2450 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO. For tickets call the box office at (816) 474-6552 or online: www.thecoterie.org
Photos by J. Robert Schraeder courtesy of Coterie Theatre