Pictured: Ensemble. Photo by Tim Scott.
By Abigail Trabue
If there’s one town that knows how to do Christmas right, it’s Kansas City. This time of year there is no shortage of holiday cheer, from the Plaza, to Union Station, to Longview Lights, to Winter Wonderfest, holiday merry-making is everywhere.
In fact, Christmas in Kansas City is so special we’ve got our own song, a song which thankfully did not make it into this year’s holly jolly holiday revue, “A Spectacular Christmas Show” currently running at MTH Theater at Crown Center.
Directed and choreographed by Ashley Pankow in her KC directorial debut, “Spectacular Christmas” hits many a right note, offering up a collection of Christmas inspired songs ranging from the classic “White Christmas” to a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”
Featuring eight incredibly talented musical theater artists, all festively costumed by Shannon Smith-Regnier, there’s not much to dislike about this show. Especially if Christmas cheer, Christmas music, letters to Santa, and twirling candy canes is your thing (and those are all my thing). It’s a jam-packed tune-fest, and for the most part, the song choices work.
There are times, however, when even the peppiest of elves can’t save the pacing. Individually, the eight actors on stage all possess incredible voices. Truly, they are some of the finest musical theater singers I’ve seen on a KC stage in a minute. But as a group, their energy sometimes wanes, especially during moments of tight harmony, making me think they’re still listening pretty hard to each other, which is natural. But at some point, you’ve got to make like Elphaba, close your eyes and leap.
That said, “Spectacular Christmas” is full of heart, and you can feel the joy radiating off the actors. The band is spectacular and knows how to fill the space, and the design elements work exactly as they should.
“A Spectacular Christmas Show” does exactly what it is meant to do – it puts a smile on your face and reminds you of just how joyous Christmas in Kansas City really is.