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Review: SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS SHOW at Musical Theater Heritage

The show took place at at Crown Center in Missouri

Review: SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS SHOW at Musical Theater Heritage
Robert Vardiman in the Traditional Ugly Christmas Sweater

One of the annual challenges inherent to creating an absolutely new "Spectacular Christmas Show" at Musical Theater Heritage is how to differentiate this year's production from the thirteen editions that preceded it. I have been privileged to see eight of the fourteen iterations and can promise you that each production is professional, well performed, entertaining and very different from earlier versions. Sure, you will recognize some of the music, but it is unlikely that the key will be one you are pre-programed to have heard before or that the various harmonies will be hackneyed.

Review: SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS SHOW at Musical Theater Heritage
Daria LeGrand and Erik Sobbe
in MTH's Christmas Spectacular

The 2021 "Spectacular Christmas Show" features a cast of seven actors and dancers with a backup combo band of three. The director/choreographer is Mandy Morris who was last seen on an MTH stage as Andrea in the just closed production of Sondheim's "Company." Music Director is Mark Ferrell. Lighting Design is by Gonzalez-Lopez with Sound Design by Charles Kump and Costumes by Shannnon Smith-Regnier.

Audiences will recognize many of the twenty-two traditional musical numbers, but will be less familiar with updated treatments of them having to do with dance, key, tempo, and harmony.

Every show needs a thread to hold it together. In this case, the thread is more a "yarn" than a thread. The running joke is the multiple reappearances of the world's traditionally, ugliest Christmas Sweater usually sported by Robert Vardiman and a series of mild Christmas jokes often repeated during holiday season. (Like how the angel got on top of the Christmas Tree.)

Director Morris is very intentional in her choices of overwhelming dance emphasis, hand movements, and stage picture. Cast members are Shelby Floyd, Courtney Germany, Liz Golson, Daria LeGrand, Erik Sobbe, Weston Thomas, and Robert Vardiman. The cast carries out Morris's vision almost exactly as she had planned for them to do so. They are, without exception, very good actors, singers, and dancers.

Familiar musical numbers are "Let It Snow," "We Need A Little Christmas," "White Christmas,"

Review: SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS SHOW at Musical Theater Heritage
Liz Golson and Courtney Germany in
MTH's Spectacular Christmas

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," " Rocking Around The Christmas Tree," " Auld Lang Syne," "Sleigh Ride," " Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and "I'll Be Home For Christmas. Less familiar music includes "Kid At Christmas," "Counting Down For Christmas," "White Winter Hymnal," "A Little Christmas," "Snowman," "Bring Me Love," "Polar Express," Text Me Merry Christmas," "A Hand For Mrs. Claus," "Wintersong," "When Your Believe," and the finale "What Christmas Means To Me."

The Saturday night audience was excited and receptive with repeated hoots, hollars, and claps, followed by a standing ovation.

MTH's "Spectacular Christmas Show" for 2021 continues at Crown Center through December 23. Tickets are available online at www.musicaltheaterheritage.com or by telephone at 816-221-6987

Review: SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS SHOW at Musical Theater Heritage
The Cast of MTH's Spectacular Christmas

MTH Photos by Brian Paulette



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One of the annual challenges inherent to creating an absolutely new “Spectacular Christmas Show” at Musical l Theater Heritage is how to differentiate this year’s production from the thirteen editions that preceded it. I have been privileged to see eight of the fourteen iterations and can promise you that each production is professional, well performed, entertaining and very different from earlier versions. Sure, you will recognize some of the music, but it is unlikely that the key will be one you are pre-programed to have heard before or that the various harmonies will be hackneyed.