Celebrate Me Home
Conceived by Roy Alan, Heather Alexander and Chris Leavy
Directed and choreographed by Roy Alan
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park FL
Winter Park Playhouse gets more mileage out of their living room set than anyone else in town. Exterior door is stage left, bedroom up a half-a-flight stage right, fireplace in the middle, Chris Leavy and Sam Forrest and their instruments get crammed over in the butler’s pantry. Its earth friendly green, and it gives a narrow passage backstage to more people around. I was a bit confused and showed up a day late for the show but they let me in any way for this fun and fancifully holiday musical program. The adult singing comes from The Heathers (Alexander and Charles) as well as Todd Alan Long and the always amazing Tim Evanicki. The show was broken up into a series of medleys with occasional spot light numbers including “Thank You Very Much.” That’s the one with the movable fruitcake, and while everyone picks on this bakery product rumored to be a remnant of Pliocene dinosaur effluvia, “it’s the thought that counts” and once you GET a fruit cake, you’re ready for next year when it’s your turn to GIVE a fruit cake. Don’t be a Scrooge, that’s my gig.
Songs? Well of course the standards were all there, and a few new additions like “The Chipmunk Song” by the children, hip-hopish “We are Santa’s Elves” and Heather A singing “My Grown Up Christmas List” – grown up NOT meaning anything beyond the PG standards of the house. The first act warped up with a complex and clever medley of every Bell Ringing song ever written, and while bell songs are pretty much all the same tempo, this one got everyone on stage and tossing lines back and forth like a heated improv number.
Along with the adults, there were four youngsters – Alexa Neilen and Jasmine Forsberg were the “real” kids singing the tyke music like “The Meaning of Christmas” and “Mr. Santa /Mr. Sandman” along with Heather A. The older kids Sage Starkey and Genna Paige Kango blended in better with the more seasoned singers, Genna did the token “Happy Hanukkah, My Friend” and Sage took on the faux Norsky “I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas.” Give him a few more years, and he’ll be collection steam engines in Ripon. The only disappointment was an all too brief visit by Flo from the wildly popular “Flo and Ebb Plug the Cheeze-Logger” of past years. Rumor has it Ebb got a high paying job in another show, but Flo and her flammable green pants suit did the body scan thing and flew down from Wittman Regional up there in Oshkosh. Not only is the show as good as or better than last years, they are selling “real” eggnog in the lobby and if you pound down a few of those right after breakfast, the whole holiday season takes on the warm glow everyone keeps talking about on TV. Let’s have another round!
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org