BWW Review: Singer D Scott Eads Celebrates CHRISTMASTIME IN THE KEY OF BING
D. Scott Eads brought his holiday show to Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal entitled Christmastime in the Key of Bing Sunday December 1 to a packed house of loving fans. The show came in at about 100 minutes and is ideally suited to a theatre stage. Not only were we treated to a fine carol selection and to a bevy of guest stars, but Eads featured story readings that in a larger space could be staged with more creative flair. But, as is, it was more than a fulfilling evening of holiday mirth.
Backed by superb musicians Michael Ragonese at the piano, who also served as musical director, Greg Sadler on drums and Gary Wicks on bass, the show made me feel like I was watching a Bing Crosby Christmas special on TV where Crosby sang and sang such tunes as "Happy Holiday", "Silver Bells", "Frosty the Snowman", "Marshmallow World" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" among many others. Kids were invited up onstage for candy canes and there was even a little Ho Ho Ho contest to see who let out with the best Santa Claus cheer. There were references to Dean Martin with "Let It Snow. Let It Snow. Let It Snow" and to Frank Sinatra with the effervescent "Mistletoe and Holly" which unbelievably was never musically charted.
Guest stars included Alison Lewis, voiceover artist Christa G. Lewis, Joanne Lichtenstein, John Ciccolini, Aidan Hanlon Smith and Todd Sherry. Alison Lewis participated in the opening of a medley of traditional carols in a delightful pre 20th century caroler costume. She later dueted beautifully on "Silver Bells" with Eads and closed the show with a lovely duet of "Count Your Blessings", "Snow" and of course, Crosby's chestnut "White Christmas."Todd Sherry shined on his reading of the sweet 1920 poem Little Tree, and John Ciccolini stole the show comedically with his rendition of "Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey" originally sung by Lou Monte. Aidan Hanlon Smith was celebrating his 16th birthday and did a fun duet with Eads on "Marshmallow World".
Other song highlights included "Christmastime Is Here" from the unforgettable TV special A Charlie Brown Chritmas, my favorite Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song", so perfect for Eads gentle voice and, dedicated to me, "Jingle Bell Rock", as I was such a fan of Eads' last show Shake the House, rightfully nominated for a BWW Award.
The entire audience participated in a fast reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." This would have worked better on a bigger stage with various people using props to mime the whole scenario or even rear projections to enliven and spice up one's mental images of the story.
By the way sporty Eads was dressed to the nines in red plaid for the occasion, with jacket, matching bow tie and...plaid on his shoes.
D. Scott Eads is a fine singer. He has the warmth and demeanor of Bing and is at his best when just singing or when he tells us anecdotes about growing up in Virginia. Talking about decorating a Christmas tree as a boy, then lying beneath it and staring up at the lights is something we can all relate to. Theses moments spread the joy and love that is Christmas.