Sunday, September 23, 2018
Stage

The cast and songs shine in A Doo Wop Christmas

HUDSON — You know, it’s worth the price of the ticket to the Show Palace Dinner Theatre’s A Doo Wop Christmas just to hear Josh Hayes and Patrick Marshall Jr. sing Irving Berlin’s White Christmas in the style of Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters way back in 1954. Hayes starts it with an impossibly deep, controlled bass, then Marshall chimes in with a clear falsetto that would make McPhatter himself sit up and take notice. These two could carry a show all by themselves.

Still, they’re just delicious icing on the cake. This 13-member cast of singers and dancers, each with a special talent, provides one wonderful song after another, melding around a light plotline that lends structure to the show without overwhelming the melodies, thanks to writer Matthew Belopavlovich’s respect for his musical material.

Kudos to director Pete Clapsis for recruiting a dozen of the best Show Palace veterans, plus one little newcomer (8-year-old Rose Carpenter as Noelle) to present two hours of sparkling, sometimes funny, always heartwarming holiday spirit.

Prepare to smile at familiar tunes, then laugh until your drink comes out of your nose when Jay R. Goldberg (remember Uncle Fester in The Addams Family?) cuts a rug doing the Peppermint Twist or hamming it up as an ersatz Elvis wailing about a Buh-buh-buh-Blue Christmas.

In a show filled with high points, Colleen Campbell’s clear as a bell, a cappella rendition of O Holy Night is one never to be forgotten. Ellie Pattison, as Grandma Rudolph, is sweet and touching with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, her voice sure and steady, even as it is filled with emotion. Victoria Stinnett, as Mrs. Rudolph, sings a touching My Grown-Up Christmas List. And Brianna Trier is delightful as young Eve, mourning the loss of her beloved grandpa in Miss You Most at Christmas Time.

The cornerstone of the show is the five-member boy band-like singers (Jonathan Scott Roth, Kevin Korczynski, Craig Franke, Marshall and Hayes), whose voices blend like eggnog and a fine bourbon whiskey, doing a spirited version of Chuck Berry’s Run, Run Rudolph, mellowing out on the Drifters’ Up on the Roof (but what’s with those strange scarves?), A Doo Wop Christmas With You, and an a cappella We Need a Little Christmas. Roth’s bass stays true and clear on Do You Hear What I Hear? Korczynski’s high tenor/falsetto adds a doowop feel to many of the songs.

A trio of singer/dancers (Lindsay Nantz, Brittany Ambler and Campbell) brings memories of American Bandstand, white go-go boots and all, with Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and Sleigh Ride, then joins the entire cast for midnight mass with a nativity scene, a charming reminder of the season that doesn’t go overboard on religiosity. Korczynski’s Let There Be Peace On Earth adds an ecumenical touch, with his neutral ministerial garb reflecting almost any denomination.

This is a singer’s show, with deft music direction by Matty Colonna. Uncomplicated choreography by Elizabeth Kusch adds movement, leaving the flash to costume coordinator Pat Werner, who decks out the female dancers in shimmering glitter, the male singers in shiny, doowop-style suits and colorful shirts, and the Rudolph family in traditional garb.

Todd Everest’s three-part set design gives a 1960s feel, with traditional home furnishing, a cozy attic, and a corner soda shop with black and white tile bar and chrome stools with red seats recalling memories of 25-cent malts and 10-cent cherry colas. Ah, the good ol’ days.

.if you go

A Doo Wop Christmas

Matinees and evenings through Dec. 25 at Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson, FL. Dinner and show, $50.50, plus tax and tip; show only, group, and youth tickets available. Call (727) 863-7949

Comments
Despite the razzle-dazzle, ‘Chicago’ is starting to feel dated

Despite the razzle-dazzle, ‘Chicago’ is starting to feel dated

TAMPA — There’s a reason Chicago has been delighting audiences since 1975, and is one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history. Jaded and funny, fast-paced and flamboyant, this sentimental journey to the tabloid culture still seems ahead o...
Published: 09/19/18
Find A Friend: Brooklyn the Terrier Mix

Find A Friend: Brooklyn the Terrier Mix

She’s going to make it by any means — got a pocket full of dreams — let’s hear it for Brooklyn. This 36-pound, soulful snuggler is a well-mannered maiden, past the puppy stage at age 5, and happily housebroken. She enjoys ...
Published: 09/19/18
On stage this weekend: Game of Thrones, Rocky Bleier, Florida Orchestra pops up

On stage this weekend: Game of Thrones, Rocky Bleier, Florida Orchestra pops up

PAGEANTRY AND PASSION: GAME OF THRONESThis ought to be fun for hard-core fans of Game of Thrones, which won its third best drama Emmy this week. HBO and Live Nation concert producers combined to create Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, a big b...
Published: 09/19/18
On stage this week: ‘Chicago,’ ‘The Guys,’ Ginger Minj of RuPaul fame

On stage this week: ‘Chicago,’ ‘The Guys,’ Ginger Minj of RuPaul fame

RAZZLE DAZZLE: CHICAGO Broadway returns to Tampa in Chicago, the jazzy Bob Fosse cynical celebration of corruption and longest-running American musical revival of all time. Style is substance as Velma and Roxie compete for the limelight of a jaded p...
Published: 09/12/18
Review: ‘Heisenberg’ at Tampa Rep a hopeful expression for our times

Review: ‘Heisenberg’ at Tampa Rep a hopeful expression for our times

TAMPA — With the current state of things, the unlikely union in Heisenberg provides a refreshingly tender contrast to the divisiveness trolling our lives these days.Playwright Simon Stephens even went so far to say in Oakland’s East Bay Times that "t...
Published: 09/10/18
Updated: 09/12/18
Fall Arts Preview: Your guide to museums, plays, opera and classical music in Tampa Bay

Fall Arts Preview: Your guide to museums, plays, opera and classical music in Tampa Bay

Welcome the sweet approach of fall. Despite our current heat index, we’ll soon experience milder air, shorter days and too many things flavored like pumpkin.But in Tampa Bay, the true indicator of fall is the rebirth of local art. Our professional th...
Updated one month ago
Fall Arts Preview: Opera Tampa will premiere new opera by Anton Coppola, 101, and more

Fall Arts Preview: Opera Tampa will premiere new opera by Anton Coppola, 101, and more

Have you decided yet which operas you’re going to compose after age 100? If the prospect seems daunting (it does), consider that there is only one Anton Coppola, and only he expects this kind of productivity. Opera Tampa’s founding maest...
Updated one month ago
Fall Arts Preview: In a new season, Florida Orchestra expands reach, new top soloists

Fall Arts Preview: In a new season, Florida Orchestra expands reach, new top soloists

The Florida Orchestra has prepared a 51st season with a wide range of grand masters and newer work, an increased visibility for minorities and women and more collaborations with museums and other artistic institutions. Masterworks highlights include...
Updated one month ago
Fall Arts Preview: Light and dark, classic and groundbreaking round out Tampa Bay theater

Fall Arts Preview: Light and dark, classic and groundbreaking round out Tampa Bay theater

Theater mirrors our world and enlarges it, responds to current events, and allows us to glimpse the present by retelling the classics. Just touch this lineup of shows. In the palm of your hand you can almost feel tremors of anxiety about racial tensi...
Updated one month ago
On stage this week: Tampa Bay Theatre Festival and more 'Hedwig'

On stage this week: Tampa Bay Theatre Festival and more 'Hedwig'

BETTER THAN EVER: TAMPA BAY THEATRE FESTIVAL If you haven’t been to a Tampa Bay Theatre Festival yet, you really don’t know what you’re missing. The festival, now in its fifth year, offers a ton of original entertainment, learning ...
Updated one month ago