There’s never a shortage of productions of A Christmas Carol this time of year, but for those looking for something a little different, MetroStage continues its popular holiday tradition of making things a little less ordinary—and a lot more fun.
One thing’s for sure: This is not your grandparent’s Dickens.Imagine the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, but instead of the traditional ageless tale, song parodies from 33 Broadway shows act as the guiding force of the production. Throw in a Phantom of the Opera masked piano player, and Broadway Christmas Carol provides a hilarious theatrical experience that’s not to be missed.
The action comes to life thanks to three charismatic and gifted singers—Peter Boyer as Scrooge, Russell Sunday as The Man Who Isn’t Scrooge and Tracey Stephens as The Woman Who Isn’t Scrooge—the latter two relying on quick costume changes and playing around with octaves to portray most of the characters of the holiday classic.
Boyer gets the theatricality started by showing Scrooge’s greedy nature in the song, “I’m in the Money,” a take on the 42nd Street classic. Despite portraying a dastardly, money-grubbing holiday crusher, Boyer allows the audience to see heart in his villainous ways and by the time redemption comes—with a rousing version of “Ebenezer” in the style of Oklahoma!—the audience is cheering along.
Whether it’s playing the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s blind as a bat former love Belle or the ghost of Christmas Present (wrapped in a big wrapped gift, get it?), Stephens lets her comic mastery—as well as her humorous red undies—flow. Song after song was delivered with oozes of fun, highlighted by a mocking riff of “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity.
Sunday takes on Bob Cratchit, Fred and even Tiny Tim—after being reminded to get down on his knees that is—and shows incredible vocal range hitting the falsetto of Annie’s “Tomorrow” and the lower range of tunes from Oliver! and Beauty and the Beast.
A Broadway Christmas Carol
Closes December 22, 2013
1201 North Royal Street
2 hours with 1 intermission
Tickets: $35 – $50
Thursdays thru Sundays
Tickets or call 703 548-9044
Musical director Howard Brietbart joined in on the fun for the second act, playing piano in a Phantom mask and singing “The Phantom of Christmases Yet to Come,” which poked fun of the title song from the long-running Broadway hit.
Created by Kathy Feininger and directed by Michael Sharp, this annual production continues to bring surprises to a story that everyone knows. The show even manages to find a laugh in the story’s signature line, “God bless us, everyone.”
It wouldn’t hurt for some modern tunes to be included, as the most recent Broadway song comes from 2003’s Avenue Q with puppets appearing as the Cratchit kids, but any theater lover will be familiar with most of the songs, and even non-Broadway fans will recognize many of the popular hits from shows such as Chicago, Sound of Music and Cats.
While not every joke hits, and many warrant chuckles rather than outright belly laughs, the fast-paced show will keep a smile on your face throughout. Being visited by ghosts has never been more fun.
A Broadway Christmas Carol . created by Kathy Feininger . directed by Michael Sharp . music direction by Howard Breitbart . featuring Peter Boyer, Tracey Stephens and Russell Sunday . Produced by MetroStage . Reviewed by Keith Loria.