By Fran Syverson
You’ve seen the Nutcracker ballet how many times? And Scrooge, with his fearsome ghosts of Christmases past, present and future? Beloved as these classics are, aren’t you ready to try something new this year to lift your spirits for the joyous season?
How about a madcap musical comedy where most everything about the holidays is rolled into one? That would be “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)” now showing at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.
Name it, and the actors are apt to poke fun at it in their fast-moving parody of Christmas. From the Grinch to “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” nothing is safe from their irreverent spoofing. Garrett Botts, Philip Rossi and Dale Sandlin have such fun playing cameos of a variety of odd characters! They change their costumes — or portions of them — in the twinkling of Santa’s eye. Behind Santa’s Workshop with his piano is musical director Sean Paxton, adding his talents to the many modes of the performers.
The frantic antics of Botts-Rossi-Sandlin defy description. Come and see (and laugh) for yourself! They prey upon everything — Christmas customs around the world, tales from Dickens to Dr. Seuss, sentimental traditions, modern icons Snoopy and Frosty. The tomfoolery even spills off the stage for interaction with the audience.
Despite all the joking around, the show does leave room for caring about the traditions we cherish. So it should come as no surprise that the finale is a blend of Christmas carols like you’ve never heard, so smoothly interwoven you can scarcely tell where one leaves off and another begins.
“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)” debuted in Sierra Made under the directorial hand of Gary Lamb. He is also the scenic and sound designer, and he and Cate Caplin did the fantastic choreography. Vicki Conrad went over the top with the myriad of quick-change semi-costumes needed for the skits.
You can enjoy this change-of-pace show on most Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 29. For reservations and specific days and times, call (626) 355-4318; for online ticketing: sierramadreplayhouse.org. Admission is $45, seniors (65+) pay $40, and youth (to age 21) pay $25. The Playhouse is located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre.