Review: THE GREAT CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKEOFF is Sugar-Filled Holiday Fun at StageWorks Theatre

Onstage now through December 17th, 2023. The perfect timing to help usher in the holiday season.

By: Dec. 02, 2023
Review: THE GREAT CHRISTMAS COOKIE BAKEOFF is Sugar-Filled Holiday Fun at StageWorks Theatre

“The outcome of the bake isn’t about the product...but that I made something that makes people happy...and that makes Christmas a little more special...” 

“Sharing is all the fun... so bake enough for everyone...”

The Great Christmas Cookie Bakeoff is a one-act Holiday musical created by Rick Hip-Flores. Featuring a cast of 8 talented students and 4 adults, this whimsical musical is the perfect sugary delight to usher in the Holiday Season.

The plot here is as simple as confectionary sugar:

“Combining the time-honored tradition of Christmas cookies with the ever-popular phenomenon of reality baking competitions...In this musical eight young cookie chefs have been selected from all over the country to battle it out for first prize at the Cookie Coliseum. Just as no two cookies are the same, each contestant reveals their unique personality through song. Suspense mounts as the chefs are eliminated one by one, by three distinguished celebrity judges. Over the course of the competition, feelings of intense rivalry give way to virtues of charity, family, and forgiveness, as the chefs learn what really makes for a winning Christmas recipe.” -(broadwaylicensing.com)

Director Landon Green and Associate Director Katherine Yacko have assembled a  wonderful group of talented young performers to bring the baking show to life before our eyes. Combining their talents with the talent of 4 adult performers makes for a delightfully good time.

From top to bottom, this Company of performers will fill your heart with holiday joy, the best way they know how...through cookies, song, and the magic of live theatre. With songs like “Christmas Star,” as sung by Del Rey (Krystle Pitts) in which performers learn what its like to be the best they can be. “I Need You This Christmas,” beautifully sung by Hailey (Hayden Brown-Wahlgren) about what it means to be missing someone not only all year long, but especially at Christmas time, and the lasting memories they hold in our hearts. “To Be A Winner,” sang by Gabe (Alex Rodriguez), about the importance of winning, also shines a light on the possibility that maybe winning isn’t all its cracked up to be, but rather making friends and memories along the way. “I Don’t Belong Here,” sung by Logan (Jaiden Gray), about struggling to fit in and eventually finding one's way. All culminating in the company’s version of “The Great CC Bakeoff,” and what it means/ entails to be a part of the competition. Throw in a mix of holiday carols old and new, and you have a recipe for a fun evening of live theatre.

Each character, Hailey (Hayden Brown-Wahlgren), Gabe (Alex Rodriguez), Logan (Jaiden Gray), Lawrence/The Cantor (Jordan Miciah), Del Ray/Mrs. Beasley (Krystle Pitts), Brianna (Eve Anton), Grandma/Isabella (Jessica Moraton), Malcolm/Gabe’s Dad (Benny Rodriguez), Makenzie (Paige Snayd), Josh (Zach Barrera), Julian (Grayson Loney), and Amelia (Selah Darty), respectively, each have moments they shine and celebrate the uniqueness of each character. I want to highlight that this is truly an ensemble piece, where one couldn’t possibly work without the other. A tight family unit that allows each company member to have their moments while propelling the story forward. Landon Green and Katherine Yacko have created a team fit for the perfect recipe.

Set Design by Frank Chavez is the perfect rendition of a Gingerbread House, and something that looks like it jumped off the screens of the most recent Holiday baking shows. A confectionary delight for the eyes, that makes even the strongest sweet tooth want more and more. With lighting design by Danny Aggers working hand in hand with the scenic masterpiece, like eggs to cookies; each playing a pivotal role. Scenic Artist Leiann Klein should be commended on the beautiful display of confectionary delight she has created here. Musical Director Xander McColley works well to keep the musical moving at the right tempo and gets the most out of his performers. Costume Design by Corinne Todd allows each character to display their own unique personality and it fits well into the story.

I applaud Stageworks for taking a step away from what we normally see on their stage. Maybe it is the script but there are times it doesn’t feel as polished as what we’ve come to know from Tampa’s Longest-running Professional Theatre company. Maybe it’s the fact that like all reality TV shows it’s meant to be a little messy at times, full of fluff, and drama. At any rate, if you are looking for something different this holiday season, or if you just need to put a little joy back into your heart, as we all need it every now and again, then The Great Christmas Cookie Bake Off,” is just the ticket you need. With a swift 60-minute run-time you still have time to explore the Holiday festivities at Curtis Hixon Park or enjoy Sparkman Wharf with you and yours.  You can find more information about how to secure your seat to this unique reality-tv style event by visiting the link below. Don’t wait too long, for after last night's sold-out crowd, you might find yourself like an oven timer, out of time. Don’t miss this Holiday-Delight that is the perfect way to say Merry Christmas to you and yours, through the love of baking and the love of live theatre.

While on their website you can find out more about the rest of their season, and more ways about how you can become an integral part of Tampa’s longest-running Professional Theatre. Dare. Create. Invest.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

If you keep your loved ones close...you’ll always have a Merry Christmas...”

PHOTO CREDIT: STAGE PHOTOGRAPHY OF TAMPA (SPOT).




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