Make us your home page
Instagram

Spectacular solos bring holiday cheer to Show Palace Christmas show

A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular continues matinees and evenings through Dec. 25 at the Hudson theater.

Show Palace Dinner Theatre

A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular continues matinees and evenings through Dec. 25 at the Hudson theater.

The opening moments of A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular, playing through Dec. 25 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson, seem more like a Christmas cantata than Christmas spectacular.

Yes, Todd Everest's set is gorgeous — oversized toys, running lights framing the stage, Christmas tree, shimmering red curtain, even a couple of discreet Stars of David topping the stage arches and a menorah perched on a theater side rail to suggest a little religious diversity. And Pat Werner's costumes are colorful and bright, ranging from traditional dance outfits to Victorian bonnets, top hats and hoop skirts as lovely as a Currier and Ives greeting card.

But though the multipart harmony is gorgeous, the carolers are rather static, barely moving as they sing Deck the Halls; Joy to the World; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; The First Noel; Jingle Bells; a stunning Carol of the Bells, then a hushed The Little Drummer Boy and songs from an unspecified "old country."

Except for the lively Winter Wonderland opening, it's not until the show gets to It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas that the movement begins, the stage comes alive with swirling dancers, and the audience is jolted out of a post-feast stupor that may have set in after the sumptuous holiday buffet. Then there's some patter as the young dancers joke about not knowing who Perry Como and Lena Horne are.

The first act shines with three, yes, spectacular solos: Ralph Prentice Daniel doing The Christmas Song in a smooth croon, Kristina Miranda Sloan nailing the Judy Garland favorite Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in a pitch-perfect mezzo-soprano and Ramaad Morris doing one of the two best numbers in the show, a soaring, gorgeous White Christmas (the other is his gospel treatment of Go Tell It on the Mountain to close the show), done with genuine feeling and grace. What a gifted performer this young man is.

There's an animated, humorous version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, complete with Santa's reindeer in sombreros dancing to mariachi music and a bridge of Is That You, Santa Claus? by the delightfully expressive Morris, decked out in orange sequin jacket. The first act closes with a jazzy spoof of The Nutcracker, with Raggedy Ann dolls instead of snowflake princesses, a very unusual Clara and an impressive March of the Wooden Soldiers.

In short, this is the epitome of an all-around, family-friendly show, albeit with some Christian overtones, the kind of production that almost anyone could comfortably enjoy.

Not so much for the second act, which is lovely and features several vocally dazzling solos — Colleen Campbell's powerful, pitch-perfect Ave Maria and Jay R. Goldberg's strong, heartfelt O Holy Night, as well as the aforementioned toe-tapping Go Tell It on the Mountain, to mention a few.

Still, it is 100 percent Christian, straight out of the King James version of the Holy Bible, and would be better suited for a church or parochial school performance than as half of a commercial theater's production. Those in the audience who are not Christian may feel left out, and some may even be offended. True, the show is billed as a "Christmas" show. But that term, for better or worse, has become so commercialized that it's as connected to Black Friday, trees decorated in historically pagan tradition and zany office parties as it is the birth of Jesus.

That said, A Show Palace Christmas Spectacular should delight young and old, and there's enough in Act 1 to satisfy the holiday spirit so that those who prefer not to see the second act can leave and still feel they've gotten their money's worth.

>>if you go

Show Palace Christmas Spectacular

See the Christmas show in matinees and evenings through Dec. 25 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, 16128 U.S. 19, Hudson. Dinner and show, $49.50; show only, $38.45, plus tax and tip. Children's and group tickets available. Call (727) 863-7949 or go online at showpalace.net.

Spectacular solos bring holiday cheer to Show Palace Christmas show 11/30/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 2, 2015 6:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. If you miss out on Retro Futura tour, you'll be needing a little 'Tenderness'

    Blogs

    Closing out Retro Futura Week is a little bit of a cheat. We started the week with the English Beat and we end it with an offshoot of the Beat, the band General Public and their hit …

  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 20

    Events

    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel looks at a Lego sculpture called "Everlasting" at The Art of the Brick exhibit, which opened Friday in Tampa and runs through Sept. 4. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  3. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 19

    Events

    Monster Jam Triple Threat Series: Come early for the Pit Party ($15 or free at local Ford dealers) to meet the drivers and get pictures with the trucks. 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $15-$80. (813) 301-2500.

    A crew member from the El Toro Loco monster truck, installs a truck tire, Thursday, 8/17/17 in preparation for Saturday's  Monster Jam Triple Threat Series at Amalie Arena, Tampa. The event will be held Saturday at 1pm and 7 pm.
  5. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]