Beef & Boards's intimate space allows for a more spiritual connection with the holidays, even if the variety of musical numbers and skits tend toward the frothy side - from Alvin's antics in "The Chipmunk Song"; to the campy "All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan," played to the hilt by John Vessels; to the down-country "Tennessee Christmas." Courtney M. Cleveland, the newest featured singer to the annual holiday show, brings warmth to gospel and whimsy to pop.
Eight-year-old Olivia McKenna and ten-year-old Ethan Halford Holder, too professional to steal the show, earn applause for delightful duets and company numbers. Kenny Shepard and Deb Wims return as co-hosts whose dancing is consistently spectacular. This 20th annual Christmas show again includes a special tribute to military personnel serving our nation, along with Indiana Christmas, a video of landscapes and architecture.
Doug King's choreography demands precision, and the corps of dancers deliver with spirit. Eddie Curry creates a heartwarming and humorous mix of musical numbers for a family show and directs with brisk timing. The singing is fine, the costumes shimmer and glitter and Santa appears as himself when he's not taking on the persona of Mark Fishback.