Singer-actor Matthew McGee will star as Dame Madge Crickett in A Show Palace Christmas: Holiday Hotel today through Dec. 25 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson. Set in a snowbound London, it's a combination British panto, Broadway musical and Show Palace original.
In it, Dame Madge has just 24 hours to save her old-fashioned hotel from rapacious bankers who want to turn it into a luxury apartment. She's helped by her French chef, Louis De Camembert (Michael Ursua) and a staff of singing, dancing maids and other hired help.
McGee, who helped set attendance records at American Stage for his performances in A Tuna Christmas and Moonlight and Magnolias, co-wrote the show with Ursua. It includes many of the conventions of the 400-year-old British panto, including a cross-dressing grande dame, a boy who turns out to be a girl, audience participation, "celebrities," zany slapstick and insider jokes, as well as three original tunes by Ursua.
"It's got everything," McGee said. "You would have to be a real Grinch to come and not enjoy yourself."
A Show Palace Christmas: Holiday Hotel, matinees and evenings through Dec. 25 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. Dinner/show, $46; show only, $34.95, plus tax and tip; 12 and younger, $28.45 and $23.45. Call (727) 863-7949 in west Pasco; toll-free elsewhere at 1-888-655-7469; showpalace.net.
Barbara Fredricksen, Times staff writer