Love, joy, memories flood MTH theater with Christmas show

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img_6106Tim Scott and courtesy of Musical Theater Heritage

Theater Heritage does Christmas right, leaving the audience happy, full of joy, and ready for the holidays by providing a two-hour show, full of lively music, dance, and voices that show the depth of the talent pool in the Kansas City Metro area.

Strap on your seat belt, loosen up those shoulders, get those gloves off so you can clap loudly. “The Spectacular Christmas Show” encourages audiences to jive in their seats to the joyful music in the show. Be ready to get in the swing with the 11 performers.

Founder George Harter heaped all the credit for this seasons selections on Tim Scott, director. He said Scott masterminded the show, selected lots of the music and then crafted it with the help of Kansas City’s most awesome pianist and arranger, Jeremy Watson.

For this year’s Christmas, Act I was devoted to songs from musical theater. Why not? The venue is Musical Theater Heritage. But, the selections were not always as expected or traditionally sung. For instance the first major shock comes from “Hairspray” as “Nicest Kids in Town” becomes “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” And, it doesn’t stop there. Other songs get a new treatment in Act I and also Act II. Everyone knows “Joy to the World,” the Christmas Carol, but do they know how well it meshes with the Three Dog Night version that begins, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”? When MTH regular Francisco Javier Villegas (a.k.a. Pancho) leaps on the stage in front of the mic, get ready to hear how those familiar melodies meld into a lively, beautifully crafted melody.

The show is peppered with memories of the cast’s past Christmases. Their stories provides a special bond with the audience. Jessalyn Kincaid tells of her grandmother securing her a Cabage Patch Doll when they were the rage and supplies were low/demand extreme–but grandma persevered and claimed one. Seth Golay told the story of how “everyone” he knew wan ted the Nintendo for Christmas, but he wanted Mr. Game Show–but luckily his parents got him the Nintendo anyway. Pancho created some audience sighs and tears when he told his personal account of a Christmas, 10 years ago.

“A Spectacular Christmas Show 2016″ welcomes talent that did not perform in the previous Christmas show, thereby illustrating the talent pool available in Kansas City. This year welcomed Lexi Brie, Shelby Floyd, Anthony Gasbarre III, Seth Golay, Jessalyn Kincaid, Matthew King, Brooke Lacy, Tina Maddigan, Vincent Onofrio Monachino, T. Eric Morris, Fernando Javier Villegas. Jeremy Watson served as conductor, and Founder George Harter provides several moments of reflections, narration, and insider information.

Behind the scenes, give a shout to Chad Gerlt, chief operating officer; Tim Scott, director;; Shelbi Arndt, assistant lighting design; Taylor Avazpour, assistand director; Kylor Greene, lighting design; Matthew Hendrickson, stage manager; John Hileman, sound design; Kenny Personette, choreographer; Elise Poehling, production assistant.

“A Spectacular Christmas Show” continues in the MTH Theater on level 3 of Kansas City’s Crown Center.  For times, dates, tickets, and more, contact the MTH website.  The show continues through Dec. 24.

Tags: Musical Theater Heritage, Crown Center, “A Spectacular Christmas Show”, Theater, Performing Arts, Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City, Kansas City Theater, Music, Christmas

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