On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 31 well-known Broadway show tunes, 23 wig changes, 20 separate costume changes and 4 sprightly cast members in a theatre with no bad seats, all in one 90-minute show.
In A Broadway Christmas Carol, lyricist Kathy Feiningers version of A Christmas Carol, spirits, ghosts, an orphan and a class A tightwad go classical burlesque to the max. The production, which played to sold-out audiences at Round House Theatre in Silver Spring for seven consecutive years, has at last returned to our area after a six-year absence.
From the get-go youre onto the spoof when The Woman Who Isnt Scrooge (as shes referred to in the program) played by Donna Migliaccio, belts out, deck the halls with lots of show tunes to the familiar strains of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
The very versatile Migliaccio does a mean Ethel Merman impression and a slinky hip-grinding Mae West (or is it Sophie Tucker?) character. In Turn Back Old Man, a take-off from Godspell, she urges Scrooge to Repent and forswear his greedy ways.
Its a Vaudevillian Christmas tale from Merry Olde England, mined gleefully from Charles Dickens. We know whats going to happen but we dont know how well get there as the parodies come at you fast and furious in this topsy-turvy version with all the holiday trimmings.
Peter Boyer gives us Ebenezer Scrooge as a man in full played with delicious aplomb when he intros with Im In the Money cadged from Broadways 42nd Street. His natty Scrooge is a petty tyrant who enjoys wielding his power over the local peasantry, in particular his employee, the kindly and impoverished, Bob Cratchit (referred to in the program as The Man Who Isnt Scrooge).
Cratchits character, along with a host of other incarnations, is played handily here by Matthew Anderson. Watch for Andersons offbeat Tiny Tim and Migliaccis vamping to shatter your funny bone.
The Cratchits know Its a Hard Knock Life (yes, Annie, youre not the only downtrodden Brit). And in a campy ensemble version of Phantom of the Opera called The Phantom of the Future Scrooge comes to his senses. Throughout the antics Anderson and Migliaccio shape-shift into umpteen roles with plenty of old-fashioned hoofing, including two-steps, tangos and even the Charleston thrown in for good measure.
With so many numbers, characters, and countless surprise entrances and exits, the timing had better be tight and it is, thanks to the clever choreography of Nancy Harry and the myriad costume changes engineered by Costume Designer Janine Gulisano. A tip-top cast with slick direction from Larry Kaye and reams of comic ditties-with-a-twist add up to a holly jolly Christmas musical.
MetroStage is located at 1201 North Royal St. in Alexandria. To order tickets online call 1-800-494-8497 or visit www.MetroStage.org. A Broadway Christmas Carol runs through December 19.