BWW Review: A VERY MERRY PDX-MAS is That Fun, Funny Christmas Musical You've Been Looking For, at Broadway Rose
Christmas shows usually come with a moral -- some "true message of Christmas" about generosity or acceptance that we're supposed to carry in our hearts throughout the year to come. Broadway Rose's A VERY MERRY PDX-MAS has none of that. Your heart won't grow three sizes. There isn't even an overarching story you'll spend hours or days getting to the bottom of. What you will have is a smile on your face that will help you get through what is widely recognized as the most stressful time of year.
A VERY MERRY PDX-MAS is a revue of Christmas songs that are close to, but not exactly, the ones you know and love. Instead of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," we have "The Twelve Days After Christmas" (an improvement on the original IMO). And rather than "Carol of the Bells," we have "Carol of the Fans," an inspired Ducks vs. Beavers Civil War anthem. And then there are the totally original numbers, like "The Truth About Christmas," which perfectly encapsulates the hopes and disappointments of holiday family gatherings. Many of the songs -- like the unique take on "My Favorite Things" and "Green Christmas" -- pay homage to the wonderful oasis that is Portland, even at this time of year, when it's usually raining.
What really makes this show a success is the cast, who all have amazing voices and carry flawless harmonies. The tight ensemble features performers both well-known and new to Portland stages. PDX theatre regulars will recognize Isaac Lamb, who (happily) seems to be in everything these days; Dru Rutledge, who was wonderful as Laurie in last year's OKLAHOMA! at Broadway Rose, and who performed my hands-down favorite number in this show, Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate: Alleluia"; and, of course, Benjamin Tissell, who starred in Broadway Rose's recent perfect production of FLY BY NIGHT. Newer, or at least newer-to-me, faces include Cassi Q. Kohl, Collin Carver, Danielle Valentine, and Sarah DeGrave, all of whom I hope to see much more often. I'd go listen to these people sing just about anything.
Overall, A VERY MERRY PDX-MAS is a fun, family-friendly, not-too-demanding Christmas musical. I enjoyed it. You will too.
A VERY MERRY PDX-MAS runs through December 22. More info and tickets here.
Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer