Playing through December 25 at Show Palace Dinner Theatre, in Holiday Incorporated, it doesn't matter what you celebrate, multitalented actor, director and playwright Jonathan Van Dyke has you covered in a musical tale about an elf named Ivy who's lost her love for the holidays and the five magical board members who help her find her way back to believing.

BWW Review: GIFT YOURSELF THIS ORIGINAL ENCHANTING HOLIDAY MUSICAL AT Show Palace Dinner TheatreWhat could easily go predictable was, instead, a perfect take on classic holiday songs, pop songs and rewritten holiday pop songs with fun choreography and the most vibrant, creative costumes I have seen in a holiday show. Designers Dorene Collier and Pat Werner should take a bow. The leads' costumes were incredible and I couldn't wait to see what the elves ensemble would wear in each musical number.

The story opened with "12 Days of Christmas" on a beautiful set designed by Todd Everest and painted by Vitale Brothers. Shoppers counted down to Christmas, mixing in with the audience, exchanging pleasantries and displaying their treasures in the beginning and then much less, and much more frenetic as December 25 drew near.

The caroling set disappeared seamlessly and we were transported to the North Pole where Mariboo (Whitney Grace) skated around, flirting with her boo Elfton John (Johnathan). Elfton regaled the audience with jokes like "a new cookbook - Fun with Romaine Lettuce", social commentary, and answered the never-stop-ringing hotline. "Holiday Incorporated.... No, I have no control of how long the in-laws stay."

Short-statured Elfton was a brilliant concept and Jonathan exuded Sir Elton in all his eccentric glory. I do wonder though if Jonathan had a chiropractor on speed-dial. When you see the show, you'll understand.

Mariboo was precious as the elf with dreams of skating in the ice capades. Her over-the-top virtual-love-snuggles with Elfton and her "Santa Santa" warmed your heart. Actually, every time she spoke, it was like a cozy hug from a dear friend.

BWW Review: GIFT YOURSELF THIS ORIGINAL ENCHANTING HOLIDAY MUSICAL AT Show Palace Dinner TheatreTwelve-year-old Sofia Rzymski played the affable, but disenchanted Ivy. "Where Is the Joy of Christmas" made you sympathize with the young elf with the beautiful voice.

Sergeant Chestnut was perfectly portrayed by Kerri Sullivan. She was not all sugar and spice, had a few issues with memory - specifically hot chocolate- and her littlest elf name recall, but she ran her elves with gentle, but iron hand. Her hair reminded me of characters from my favorite live-action holiday movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Tinsel Garland (Julia Rifino) shined as the material girl of the board, teaching Ivy about the joys of gift-receiving - I mean - giving, with fun performances, choreography and ensemble costumes of "Santa Baby" and "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." She broke down and taught Ivy the real meaning of holidays with "My Grown-Up Christmas List."

The notes Hearth Tannenbaum (Krystal Bly) hit were extraordinary. She taught Ivy the importance of home and family. I particularly enjoyed an operatic "We Are Family."

BWW Review: GIFT YOURSELF THIS ORIGINAL ENCHANTING HOLIDAY MUSICAL AT Show Palace Dinner TheatreLooking and sounding like a cross between Elvis and Andrew Dice Clay, Frankie Felix (Kaleb Lankford) regaled Ivy with the festive party side of the many different types of holiday celebrations. "Living La Vida Loca" featured playful choreography from the audience floor.

Figgy Van Nogg (Aaron Washington) featured my favorite representation of the merriment of the holidays - food! His entertaining performance of "Eat It" made me (dare I say it) hungry for more.

Angel Divine (Eileen Lymus-Sanders) as the name implied taught Ivy about the magic found in faith. Eileen's last held note of "Oh Holy Night" was simply breathtaking. The lighting by Michael Sessa, though wonderful throughout the production, was simply stunning during her goosebump-giving performance.

The ensemble as a whole was excellent and a drum performance by petulant Christopher Montanez against Sergeant Chestnut's wishes was both cute and funny.

Mix a disillusioned child elf, an elf drill sergeant overseeing a bevy of workers, a comically diminutive news-breaking elf host, and his delightful elven girlfriend (whose voice I want as my outgoing holiday cell phone message) with five enchanted members of the board of directors of Holiday Incorporated and you get the premise for an adorable story that you should gift yourself and your loved ones of all ages this holiday season.

Related Articles View More Tampa Stories   Shows

From This Author Deborah Bostock-Kelley

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram