Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Juggernaut By Beverly Creasey

The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston has been staging their Christmas extravaganza for more than a quarter century. Over forty choristers, one hundred dancers and eighty children are participating in this year’s IT’S CHRISTMASTIME (playing through Dec. 12th) …and each and every one of them enters and exits on cue. Imagine stage managing that throng! (By the way, her name is Lori E. Baruch.)

The Christmas themed variety show thrilled and amazed the little girls in my party who best liked the wee Santas-in-Training (racing headfirst through a chimney) and the Beach Boys’ tribute of “Little Old Saint Nick” (Go figure! I would have bet on the Teddy Bear Nutcracker.)

IT’S CHRISTMASTIME has been abridged over the years but it’s still an embarrassment of riches – which this time includes the hilarious last minute buying frenzy in “the shop around the corner” from the musical, SHE LOVES ME. (Long time Reagle supporter, Yolanda, gets her name over the transom!) From the crackerjack Reagle Rockettes to the Olde English John Mason Neale carols, Reagle’s spectacular delivers.

Broadway star Sarah Pfisterer adds elegance and warmth to the big choral numbers and R. Glen Michell as narrator (and soloist) adds a “radio announcer’s” gravitas to the proceedings. Tableaux Vivantes are a specialty of director Bob Eagle, freezing a Victorian street scene into a “living” painting, reminiscent of the Museum of Fine Arts’ famous Childe Hassan view of Boston Common.

Lavish details are the hallmark of Reagle’s holiday shows and audiences have come to expect them. A reverent Biblical reenactment of the Nativity ends the show with a breathtaking tableau of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the manger, surrounded by angels, shepherds, sheep and the three Wise Men.

Here’s my dilemma: Gold can be mined anywhere but frankincense comes only from Africa and myrrh only from Ethiopia so two of the three Kings are definitely not European, an historical detail that escaped someone’s attention. Certainly in a show which highlights “Peace on Earth and good will to all men” the performers could reflect all of us in this “weary world”… but that’s just my opinion on the subject.