note: entire contents copyright 2015 by Sheila Barth
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical By Sheila Barth firstname.lastname@example.org You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, and Santa’s other reindeer, but I bet you didn’t know Donner and his wife, Mrs. Donner, had a baby boy who was different than all the other reindeer. You probably also didn’t know this misfit reindeer named Rudolph had misfit friends who decided with him to leave the North Pole, searching for a place to belong. Hermey, (Wesley Edwards) the misfit elf who doesn’t like to make toys, and blustery panhandler, Yukon Cornelius, (Ben Burch), looking for gold and silver, join Rudolph’s quest. Along the way, they encounter cute, fuzzy, misfit toys, who spend their time sadly, under-appreciated and ignored, on the Island of Misfit Toys. And larger-than-life Bumble, the Abominable Snowman (manned by Jaycob Hunter and Bren Thor Johnson), blows in and out of scenes, delighting, not frightening children, in Iconic Entertainment Studios, Right Angle Entertainment and Wishing Star Productions’ two-act,1-1/2 hour play, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical,” that appeared at Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Shubert Theatre only six days. Based on the 1964 stop-motion animated TV classic, Robert Penola’s stage adaptation, with Alex in Wonderland’s adorable puppets and Johnny Marks’ hummable music and lyrics, is currently performing three North American tours, appearing in 50 cities. Children wearing deer antlers, illuminated, bulbous red noses, elfin ears and hats, hugging favorite stuffed animals squealed and shimmied in their seats, happily watching the play, spontaneously joining in to songs “A Holly Jolly Christmas,”Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,”and the finale theme, “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”. Sam The Snowman (Michael Cavinder) narrates Rudolph’s tale, citing how little Rudolph was banned from playing reindeer games, and shunned by his peers, but ultimately saves Christmas and is their hero when he guides Santa’s sleigh during a devastating storm. Portraying Rudolph, Lexy Baeza is energetic and excitable; but overall, the fuzzy, big-eyed puppets upstage the cast. Jason Michael Hammond portraying Santa isn’t round and jolly; and his bald head and beard look plastic. Portraying Mrs. Claus, Aviva Pressman is bland, too. However, several cast members effectively portray two-three roles. Besides cute costumes and puppets, there’s excitement galore with Jonathan Infante’s projection designs, starlit nights and snow-blown terrain. Sound designer Julie Ferrin’s ferocious storm rages, and Bumble sounds scary and threatening, but isn’t. Director-choreographer Dana Solimando also successfully incorporates ZFX Inc.’s flying apparatus, sending Santa’s sleigh and Rudolphaloft on stage. The story-book set and recorded music, typical of touring companies making brief stops in several communities, are fine, too. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical” is geared towards little folks, and young-at-heart, who remember the song as part of their youthful yuletime. They all walked out, arm-in-arm, singing.