The glow of lights from the Electric Theater are inviting on a darkened Tabernacle Street. Although newly renovated, the building retains the warm antiquity of its 114 year history. I take in my surroundings: hardwood floors, down-sloping aisles and the distinguished proscenium stage. A milieu of refinement and class. Eagerly I take my seat, ready for the show.
The Stage Door Theater Company’s production of “Christmas on Broadway” puts an engaging twist on the variety show format. The show takes place during “rehearsals” and each performance is tied together with an underlying narrative. The character of the theater’s janitor is the narrator and guides the audience as we watch the upcoming show rehearse. As each scene unfolds, we are introduced to the performers (without of course stepping through that trusty fourth wall), and their own individual stories.
Brilliantly filling the role of The Janitor is Jared Davis. A familiar face on the local stage, Davis, who also co-wrote the show with Kerry Perry, bobs and weaves through each scene with unwavering comedy. A diverse talent, Davis never disappoints.
Joel Thomas plays the uber-artistic director constantly giving vague, nonsensical directorial notes. Thomas is humorous with a demanding intensity.
Alexa Garcia and Emme Forbes Condie sing a passionate duet, “I Still Believe.” Garcia sings with conviction in a dreamlike voice, and Condi brings strength to the act with a solid, full voice and beautiful vibrato.
Next we’re introduced to “The Lord and Lady of Theater,” played by the always astounding Brodie Perry and Chrissy Cooley. A duet of the song “All I Ask of You,” from “Phantom of the Opera” showcases Cooley’s operatic abilities as well as Perry’s rich voice. Even though suffering from a severe cold, Perry’s voice showed no signs of weakness. I believe that even if he were unamplified, his beautiful voice would still fill the room. Bravo!
Local theater veteran Paige Allred sings a rousing rendition of Gershwin’s “Who Could Ask for Anything More,” replete with dancers and top-quality choreography. Appearing multiple times in the show, Allred displays her talent with great pacing, comedic timing, and a soulful voice full of character.
One of my absolute favorite performances was by the very young Lilly Mae Stover. Alone on the stage, singing “Quiet” from “Matilda,” Stover takes your breath away with an understated intensity. A haunting piece that moved me to tears, this is one performance I’ll never forget.
In the iconic act, “The Grinch,” Brayden Morgan nails Jim Carrey’s version of the title character, and Sloane Griffith owns the role of Cindy Lou Who. Morgan inspires whenever on stage and was also the show’s main choreographer. I was beyond impressed at dance numbers like “Revolting Children” and the show-stopping performance of “Blue Skies,” sung by the talented Brennan Walters.
Another modern classic is the act “Elf.” Playing Buddy, the character played by Will Ferrell in the movie, is Jadon Webster. Last seen in St. George Musical Theater’s production of West Side Story and a favorite face in the local theater community, Webster perfects Buddy’s childlike nature and owns the stage with a charismatic presence.
Other iconic acts included the Andrew Sisters (Chelsea Sweany, Emme Forbes Condi and Lainee McDonald), and from the holiday classic film “White Christmas,” the Haynes Sisters (Cheslea Sweaney and Ashlie Davenport). Lastly, a high-kicking performance of the song “I Want to Be a Rockette,” sung by Sloane Griffith and Emme Een (dancers: Chelsea Sweany, Lainee McDonald, Ashlie Davenport, and Grace Palfreyman).
In honor of the newly dedicated Electric Theater and closing out this hit show was the anticipated guest appearance from St. George Mayor Jon Pike. The audience roared in applause as Mayor Pike, with a delightful voice, sings the beloved classic “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”
The show was set and dressed in an artistically minimal way. Both stylish and creative, the set designs produced an intimate feel that enhanced the story behind every act. Costumes excelled, especially for the iconic and show-stopping acts. With historical accuracy a must, costume funding for acts like The Grinch, the Andrew Sisters, and the Haynes Sisters were personally funded by the Perry’s.
The Stage Door Theater Company’s mission statement reads: “We seek to inspire, educate and transform the aspiring artist to reach their fullest potential in their craft, as well as provide performing opportunities and support to both professionals and non-professionals alike”. Brodie and Kerry Perry honor this statement throughout the show. For example, the spotlight operator is a 12-year-old with no previous experience, assistant backstage helpers are between the ages of 12 and 14, the director of the “orphan choir” in one of the acts is a sophomore at Tuacahn High School and a vocal student of Brodie Perry’s as is the choreographer of the dance number, “It’s A Hard Knock Life.” In my opinion, the professional quality of the show was only enhanced by this aspect, proof that kids –- regardless of age and equipped with confidence and the support of those around them — can do anything.
A testament to teamwork and a true collaboration of the friends, family, etc. who volunteered, “Christmas on Broadway” is the most successful show of the season. An uproarious event, this show offers two acts jam-packed with holiday fun and Broadway favorites. It’s a well-balanced Christmas production that never over-indulges and leaves even the biggest humbug smiling. With only three more performances Dec. 17-19, make your holiday season complete and reserve your ticket at showtix4u.com.