Review Roundup: LOOKING FOR CHRISTMAS at the Old Globe

Review Roundup: LOOKING FOR CHRISTMAS at the Old GlobeThe Old Globe is expanding San Diego's celebration of the holidays with a world premiere American musical about family, faith, and the magic of Christmas. The Globe is delighted to announce the complete cast and creative team for Looking for Christmas, the new Clint Black Christmas musical, inspired by the country music legend's 1995 chart-topping holiday album. With music and lyrics by Clint Black, book by James D. Sasser with Black, based on an idea by Sasser and Black, music supervision and music direction by Matt Hinkley, and directed by Kent Nicholson, Looking for Christmas is currently running through December 16, 2018 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Tickets start at $39.00 and are on sale to the general public now.

Amid the commotion of the holidays, Staff Sergeant Mike Randolf returns from Afghanistan and home to his family. But before Mike can open his heart to the joy and spirit of the season, he must make peace with the past and let go of the ghosts of the battlefield. While Mike's wife helps him readjust to civilian life, it's their precocious young daughter's sweet search for the true meaning of Christmas that leads the family toward healing. This heartwarming musical is sure to become an enduring holiday classic.

The cast includes DeLeon Dallas (Wild Goose Dreams at La Jolla Playhouse, Honky and Actually at San Diego Repertory Theatre) as Douglas Miller, Aaron C. Finley (Broadway's Kinky Boots, It Shoulda Been You, and Rock of Ages) as Mike Randolf, Kaylin Hedges (title role in Annie at the Hollywood Bowl) as Ellie Randolf, Liana Hunt (Broadway's Newsies and Mamma Mia!, national tours of Bright Star, Wicked, and Mamma Mia!) as Jessie Randolf, and Syndee Winters (Broadway's The Lion King, Motown The Musical, Pippin, and Hamilton; NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert) as Alissa Miller. The ensemble includes Reanne Acasio, Bobby Chiu (Billy Watson), Veda Cienfuegos (Joanie Watson), Giovanni Cozic (Jimmy), Scott Richard Foster(Jack Peters), Bryant Martin (Santa), Reese McCulloch (Melissa Peters), and Katie Sapper; with swings Lauren Livia Muehl, Jonathan Sangster, and Lauren Ellen Thompson.

The creative team includes Wendy Seyb (Choreographer), Sean Fanning (Scenic Design), Charlotte Devaux (Costume Design), Rui Rita (Lighting Design), Leon Rothenberg (Sound Design), Jason Styres, CSA (Casting), and Anjee Nero (Production Stage Manager).

Let's see what the critics have to say!

Jean Lowerison, San Diego GLN: Matt Hinkley and his seven-member band keep the place hoppin'. Sean Fanning has toned down his usual spiffy sets to match the simplicity of the surroundings. Lighting and sound are well handled by Rui Rita and Leon Rothenberg. And Charlotte Devaux's costumes catch the holiday spirit.

Eric George Tauber, San Diego Jewish World: Looking for Christmas isn't about who celebrates which holiday. It's about family. It's about our need to cry for help, to be honest and vulnerable. If we don't, we may push away those closest to us whom we need the most. I hope that this show is well attended by military families, especially those who don't usually go to the theatre. And I hope that those families hold one another a little more closely, talk more openly and listen more attentively.

James Herber, San Diego Union-Tribune: If there's a weakness in the storytelling by James D. Sasser and Black, it's in the overly stoic, subdued reactions on display after the event that shakes up everyone's lives early on in the 90-minute, no-intermission show. What should be a seismic pivot point feels oddly muted.

E.H. Reiter, BroadwayWorld: The talented kids of the cast add a bit of zing to all the sweet sentiment. Their precociousness and straight joy for the season, Santa, and the pageant cut through the adult introspection to remind them that everything can be solved if you just come to the pageant! Even in this world where love and Santa can conquer all, the kids still despair for their parent's ability to keep up with them, with one kid even lamenting that her mom "doesn't even know how to use Snapchat."

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