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Deck the Halls with Lots of Show Tunes! A Broadway Christmas Carol Comes to MetroStage

Special to the Alexandria Times
Jordan Wright
November 22, 2010

Donna as Baby Fan

Donna as Baby Fan

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me. 31 well-known Broadway show tunes, 23 wig changes, 20 separate costume changes and 4 sprightly cast members in a theatre where there are no bad seats in one 90-minute show.

In “A Broadway Christmas Carol”, lyricist Kathy Feininger’s version of “A Christmas Carol”, spirits, ghosts, an orphan, and a Class A tightwad go classical burlesque to the max. The production, which played to sold-out audiences at Round House Theatre in Silver Spring for seven consecutive years, has at last returned to our area after a six-year absence.

From the get-go you’re on to the spoof when “The Woman Who Isn’t Scrooge” (as she’s referred to in the program) played by Donna Migliaccio, belts out “deck the halls with lots of show tunes” to the familiar strains of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”. The very versatile Migliaccio does a mean Ethel Merman impression and a slinky hip-grinding Mae West…or is it Sophie Tucker…character. In “Turn Back Old Man”, a take-off from “Godspell”, she urges Scrooge to “Repent! and forswear his greedy ways”. It’s a Vaudevillian Christmas tale from Merry Olde England, mined gleefully from Charles Dickens. We know what’s going to happen but we don’t know how in hell we’ll get there as the parodies come at you fast and furious in this topsy-turvy version with all the holiday trimmings.

Matt Anderson as Ghost of Christmas Past and Peter Boyer as Scrooge -Photo Credit Colin Hovde

Matt Anderson as Ghost of Christmas Past and Peter Boyer as Scrooge -Photo Credit Colin Hovde

Peter Boyer gives us Ebenezer Scrooge as a man in full played with delicious aplomb when he intros with “I’m In the Money” cadged from Broadway’s “42nd Street”. His natty Scrooge is a petty tyrant who enjoys wielding his power over the local peasantry, in particular his employee, the kindly and impoverished, Bob Cratchit, referred to in the program as “The Man Who Isn’t Scrooge”. Cratchit’s character, along with a host of other incarnations, are played handily here by Matthew Anderson. Watch for Anderson’s offbeat Tiny Tim and Migliacci’s vamping to shatter your funny bone.

The Cratchits know “It’s a Hard Knock Life” (yes, Annie, you’re not the only downtrodden Brit). And, in a campy ensemble version of “Phantom of the Opera”, called “The Phantom of the Future” that includes the piano player and the production’s musical director, Aaron Broderick, Scrooge comes to his senses. Throughout the antics Anderson and Migliaccio shape-shift into umpteen roles with plenty of old-fashioned hoofing, including two-steps, tangos and even the Charleston thrown in for good measure.

With so many numbers, characters, and countless surprise entrances and exits, the timing had better be tight and it is, thanks to the clever choreography of Nancy Harry and the myriad costume changes engineered by Costume Designer Janine Gulisano. A tip-top cast with slick direction from Larry Kaye and reams of comic ditties-with-a-twist add up to a holly jolly Christmas musical.

MetroStage is located at 1201 North Royal Street in Alexandria. To order tickets online call 1-800-494-8497 or visit “A Broadway Christmas Carol” runs through December 19th.

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