The White Christmas Album 2
The music of the Beatles and Christmas songs -- who knew they'd work together so well?
Photo courtesy of Music Box Theater
Whoever at Music Box Theater came up with the idea of pairing Christmas songs with the Beatles catalog is some sort of genius. On paper, this melange sounds totally weird, if not wildly inappropriate, but in The White Chistmas Album 2 , this joyous revue from our favorite singing theater babes, the music of the Fab Four blends effortlessly with the holiday spirit, making for a rousing, toasty cabaret, full of glad tidings.
Although Cay Taylor isn't on hand to add her piquant spice to the seasonal nog, the show heralds the return of powerhouse Rebekah Dahl after maternity leave (a bouncy, healthy baby boy, I'm happy to announce). As usual, she is joined in this very merry celebration by husband Brad Scarborough, Kristina Sullivan, and Luke Wrobel. As an added present, these MBT fab four are assisted in their musical antics by John Gremillion, whose impeccable comic impressions are delightfully off the wall. Spirits are high indeed on Colquitt.
Who'd ever think you'd hear "Ring Christmas Bells" and "Hey, Jude" sung together? It's the opener, and they swing it with incomparable Vegas style, adding another rich layer to this tasty holiday offering. Throughout the show, the jazzy orchestrations bring out the best in the songs, played with vigorous snap by Glenn Sharp on keyboard, Mark McCain on lead guitar, Long Le on bass guitar, and Donald Payne on percussion. Somewhere in the mix I swear I heard a cello and accordion. Keep that synthesizer.
When not blending their voices in the best four-part harmony this side of The Music Man, or mixing it up in rollicking bebop duets like "I've Just Seen a Face" (Wrobel and Scarborough) or a hymnlike "O Holy Night" (Dahl and Scarborough), preceded by a wrenching "Golden Slumbers" (Sullivan), they each get to shine individually. Scarborough's lyric tenor soars in "Michelle;" Sullivan's crystalline soprano breaks your heart in the haunting "Eleanor Rigby," accompanied in the background by "We Three Kings;" Wrobel's stirring baritone warmly wraps "I'll Be Home For Christmas" in melancholic longing; and Dahl rocks a lowdown "Come Together." Between the numbers, Gremillion sparkles in a host of caricatures: Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby, Tom Brokaw, and an unrepentant Frenchman named Rene Marceau Jean Val Jean. And in a reprise bit from last year's Album, Wrobel, in his own Jimmy Stewart interpretation, parses the lyrics to "Come Together" in a surreal riff about Santa. You'll never hear "Here come old flattop...He got juju eyeball...He got hair down to his knee, Got to be a joker he just do what he please" without a little cringe. You'll never sit on the fat man's lap, either.
This idiosyncratic Christmas revue passes by in a tinsely flash. The singing is incomparable, with each number a solidly crafted cameo. These artists know how to put on a show, and, more importantly, how to put across a song. If you haven't made their acquaintance, what are you waiting for? You want Christmas cheer with a bit of an edge? Here's a gift you won't return.
Christmas and The Beatles meld perfectly through December 28 at The Music Box Theater, 2623 Colquitt. Purchase tickets online at themusicboxtheater.com or call 7135227722. $27 - $37.
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