Theater Pizzazz Reviews CHRISTMAS INNPublished: Friday, December 9, 2016 By: Michall Jeffers
Right away, we know we’re watching a Christmas myth, probably told to a youngster at bedtime. The heroes are the little guys great-great grandfathers, a couple of song and dance men from the ould sod. In 1882, Liam Baker (Jayson Elliott) and Patrick O’Brewer (Kilty Reidy) are performing in a music hall in Ireland. Here’s the tipoff : they’re warbling “Christmas in Killarney,” which was composed in America in 1950. Though they’re best of friends, we smell trouble when they strike the bargain which leads to opening the title establishment in Sharon, Ct. One of them has given the other the lion’s share of their company, and this will have consequences down the line with their great-grandchildren. Which side will win? Will the Inn survive, or will it be sold for a big profit so that condos can be built? Who broke up the act, and why?
Against the backdrop of a huge moon framing evergreen trees, a group of entertainers arrive to rehearse for the Christmas show which will revitalize the establishment. Josie Evans (Molly Culot / Ruby Griffin) is an adorable tyke who has a better grasp on the situation than the grownups. A Baker/Brewer star-crossed romance, thought to be over, is rekindling. And of course, Brewer and Baker meet up to verbally duke it out. Plot isn’t the overwhelming element of the show; it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen. The evening is built around the music, notably a medley of holiday favorites. What’s not to like in a show that features “Oh Christmas Tree,” “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and of course, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” For those whose spirit is willing, there’s a sing-along sheet tucked into the program, so you know that even more good times are ahead.
Christmas Inn is part The Fantasticks, part Mame, a little Philadelphia Story, a whole lot of the movie Holiday Inn, and just a sprinkling of fairy dust. If you’ve ever wanted to sing in a professional theater, here’s your chance.
Cast: Sarah Cline (Linda Baker), Jayson Elliott (Buddy/Liam Baker), Holly Googe (Nikki), Ann-Ngaire Martin (Maxine Evans), Joel Pellini (Jerry), Gabriella Perez (Becky), Kilty Reidy (Bill Brewer/Patrick O’Brewer), Nick Varricchio (Sam Brewer)
Christmas Inn, Book and Original Lyrics by Kathy Keating Wheeler & Bob Fitzsimmons Original Music and Arrangements by Steven Silverstein Directed and Choreographed by Richard Stafford Musical Direction by Ryan Edward Wise
Westchester Broadway Theatre, 1 Broadway Plaza, Elmsford NY, 10526 914-592-2222, www.BroadwayTheatre.com through December 23, 2016
Photos by John Vecchiolla