Sunday, December 4, 2011

Home For The Holidays, A Follow Up to Yesterday's Blog


Haley Swindal and David Edwards
Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays
'Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays you can't beat home, sweet home

Writer: ROBERT ALLEN, AL STILLMAN

Happy Sunday!,
Last night I went home for the holidays and it was heartwarming and fabulous and not as stressful as it usually is when you go home for the holidays.
The shopping, the traveling, will you make it home for your kid brother's solo in his first Christmas pageant?

All of these themes are covered in David Edwards' delightful Home For The Holidays, a new jukebox CHRISTMAS musical. Arrangements and Musical direction by W. Brent Sawyer. This is a quote from David's co-writer and partner, Tony Javed, "We would be remiss if we did not give our musical director, Brent Sawyer, his due. He’s done a terrific job of giving the our show musical uniformity complete with beautiful underscoring, character-sensitive arrangements and some clever blending of songs that really helps enrich the story."

Now at the Westchester Broadway Theatre through December 23rd. I feel that this should become an annual event at WBT and it will also do well in regional and stock theatres around the country.
Under David Edwards' guidance and an amazing cast, WBT proved once again that nothing succeeds like a family show. The ambiance and the mood of Christmas is in place from the moment you make your way into the theatre. Old fashioned lanterns illuminate the walkways into the theatre festuned in holly, garland, red bows, and white twinkle lights.
Only the hardened "Scrooge" wouldn't start to get into the Christmas spirit. As soon as we were seated in the theatre, we were IMMEDIATELY welcomed by our waiter AND waitress and host and made us feel that they were there for our every need. EVERY VENUE should take a lesson from the service offered at WBT.
 I felt as if we had just barely sat down before our first course was brought to us.  Danny and I had the pork loin and highly recommend that.



 

The set design by sets the mood for a nice family holiday.
David Edwards and his partner, Tony Javed, have conceived of a show that captures Christmas 2011 with the feeling of a 1940's holiday musical. Meet Me In St. Louis, On Moonlight Bay, The Andy Hardy movies... I guess the same universal feelings have never changed.
Will the proverbial son, played wonderfully  by Peter Carrier, serving over seas in Afghanistan, make it home for Christmas?
with Mary Stout

Then there is the daughter, Haley, played by heavenly Haley Swindal, who is away at Pepperdine College on the west coast...will SHE make it home for Christmas?  Then there is the younger son, LJ, played by Charlie Storck, who has his first solo in the Christmas pageant.
The family, led by the domineering mother who wants to make sure that it is the PERFECT Christmas, are constantly so caught up in their own needs are constantly forgetting about LJ.
The mother is played by Ann Van Cleave awesomely. She is the perfect package. She is pleasing on the eyes, has a great singing voice, great acting chops, and is totally convincing as the harried mother on the brink.
What is Christmas without the perfect grandmother? My grandmother Skipper was all about Christmas and I miss her tremendously. Mary Stout fills the bill. Mary always amazes me. She has had both knees replaced this year and yet she is dancing with a cane! God bless you, Mary! 50 years ago, Mary would have joined the ranks of a Mary Wickes, Reta Shaw, or a Marjorie Main as a great character actress.
Peter Carrier (in baseball cap) and cast rehearsing

The show opens with Haley, in California singing I'll Be Home for Christmas, Brian in Afghanistan singing A Place Called Home, and the rest of the cast singing We Need A Little Christmas. All three of those songs set the tone for the evening ahead. Some of the highlights of the evening include Nana reminiscing about Christmases past with Pine Cones and Holly Berries:   
One of my favorite moments was Gorgeous Kay performed by Stephen Berger as Michael, Boy, is he great! He is joined by David Edwards, who plays the dad...he also wrote the book and directed.
Sandy Rosenberg
He wears all these hats extremely well! Ann Van Cleve and Sandy Rosenberg also join in on this number. She plays Sandy in the show. She last appeared at WBT as Carlotta in Phantom and was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Milk and Honey at Musicals Tonight!. After Sandy's performance last night, I really regret missing that! Wow, what stage presence.
The number is rounded out by Mary Stout. This number really establishes Stephen Berger's character as a Jewish boy in high school and Christmas.

Loved Haley and Peter's joining together on Count Your Blessings from White Christmas.

Nana and full company on The First Noel which really took me back to church pageants which were ALWAYS a part of my growing up years in South Carolina.
I was very pleased to hear Ann Cleve singing one of my favorite songs which is rarely heard. Good for you, David, for incorporating that here. The Best Gift! Appropriately, the entire company ends the show with Home For The Holidays.

Trust me when I tell you, this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are 30 Christmas classics in this show and the show just flies. Again, I have to point out that the casting for this show is perfect. But it was wonderful to see Mary Stout om stage again. ALWAYS a treat! And Brandon Szep as LJ really captures the excitement of a kid with the excitement of his first solo in the Christmas pageant and his subsequent disappointment when the family does not share in that disappointment. I've been there!

 Do yourself a favor...Click on the link above for Westchester Broadway Theatre and treat yourself to Home
 For The Holidays. You'll thank me!



                                
                                      And here is a great stocking stuffer gift idea!

 
Attention all Nancy LaMott Fans!
 This Christmas, David Friedman and MIDDER Music Records are offering a very special Nancy LaMott Collection

 NANCY LaMOTT COMPLETE!
A Special Christmas Gift Offer!
 
For a limited time only,
get all 8 Nancy LaMott CD’s (actually 9 – one is a 2-CD set)
plus both DVD sets (3 DVD’s in all)
for the incredible price of
$100
(a $200+ value)
even shipping is free!
 
If you want to complete your own collection
or
 introduce Nancy in a big way to special friends,
this is an opportunity to buy
“Everything Nancy”
and have ALL her recordings and DVD’s in one package!

Offer will end on December 25th,
so make sure you order yours
Just in time for Christmas
 
The package includes
BEAUTIFUL BABY
COME RAIN OR COME SHINE
MY FOOLISH HEART
JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
LISTEN TO MY HEART
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE


LIVE AT TAVERN ON THE GREEN
ASK ME AGAIN
I’LL BE HERE WITH YOU - DVD
THE DON’T TELL MAMA SHOWS – DVD set
 
To order, please go to
LMLMusic.com
 Tell them I sent you!



NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED




Dec 20
8pm
THE TRIAD, 158 West 72nd Street
RICHARD SKIPPER CELEBRATES... CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK!
This is the the second installment of this series. Once a month, Richard will be celebrating a different theme. A Benefit for Carol Channing's Foundation for the Arts. (www.ChanningArts.org) Billie Brouse, Rosemary Loar, Miles Phillips, Diane J. Findlay, Maureen Taylor, Leslie Orofino, Scott Coulter, Carol J. Bufford, Karen Oberlin, Julie Reyburn, AND... Raissa Katona Bennett! RESERVATIONS A MUST! $25 show plus two drink minimum, $50 PREMIUM SEATS plus two drink minimum. PLEASE CALL 845-365-0720 TO RESERVE. DO NOT CALL THE TRIAD.

Have your voice heard – You can make a difference!





I have been fortunate enough to call among my friends several celebrities.
The one thing that I've gleaned from them beyond their bodies of work is their humanness.

Thank you to all of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you ALL have given to the world!



Thank you for joining me on these nostalgic journeys!
I've added a new aspect to my blog.. I am now answering a question on video that YOU send to me. You can ask me ANYTHING and I will answer your question on video within my blog.
Send your questions to
Richard@RichardSkipper.com




"Richard, for supporting the ARTS and calling attention to the STARS of yesterday. You are a STAR in your own right!! With admiration and friendship"
Arlene Dahl



Thank you to all who have encouraged me! Thanks to all who have tried to stifle my art. I have learned from ALL of you!


Here's to an INCREDIBLE day for ALL!



GO SEE A LIVE SHOW TOMORROW!



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Tomorrow's blog will be CELEBRATING MARK NADLER
I'm open to suggestions!

with Sharon Daniels (Happy Birthday, Baby!)
Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING  AND HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful to view the video vignettes with the people in the show that you are seeing. That is so much fun. I, for one, would love to see more of that in your blogs.
    Cheers,
    Stephan

    ReplyDelete