‘Home for the Holidays’ Is a Delightful Surflight Original

Dec 06, 2017
Courtesy of: Surflight Theater

Surflight Theatre’s Christmas offering this year is “Home for the Holidays,” an original production with a book by longtime Surflighter Andrew Foote and musical arrangements of classic holiday songs by producing artistic director Steve Steiner.

The show was performed at Surflight in 2006. Don’t remember it? That’s because it was called “The Surflight Holiday Spectacular” 11 years ago.

I reviewed the show at that time and called it a rave, despite going into the theater expecting to be disappointed.

Surflight advertised the show at that time this way: “When four couples of different faiths and backgrounds get snowed in during a holiday party, they find out that what unites them is greater than what divides them.”

One couple is Michael (Andre Dion Wills), and Vivian (Dwan Hayes), who are drifting apart because of their inability to have a child. Another is Grandma (Denise Bohr) and Grandpa (Richard O’Meara). Their problem is that Grandpa won’t be home for Christmas because he’ll be busy plowing LBI’s streets. Then there’s Chad (Andrew Foote), who is a soldier trying to get home on leave before heading off to another tour in the Middle East. He’s stuck in a snowstorm in Pittsburgh. Can a “mysterious traveler” (Chuck Caruso) be of any help?

“Hey” I wrote in my review, “I loved ‘Hallmark Hall of Fame’ specials as a kid. Then I put away my childish ways.”

Well, the show won me over bigly.

I thought Foote’s book fell into place.

I found Steiner’s arrangements to be creative, and loved it when he sampled the “The Little Drummer Boy” and “ Peace on Earth” duet made famous by the unlikely duo of Bing Crosby and David Bowie on a 1977 TV Christmas special. Other favorites included “Baby Please Come Home for Christmas” and a tear-producing full company rendition of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” (not to be confused with “Peace on Earth”).

 I also swooned over Karen Babcock’s choreography, especially a dance-battle-royal between a wooden soldier, a ballerina, a Barbie Doll and GI Joe. Paula Hammons Sloan will hold the reins this time around, and if you saw the energetic-to-the-max choreography of “Disney’s Newsies” at Surflight this summer you know those reins are in good hands.

The cast, which includes many performers from the 2017 Surflight summer season, also includes Todd Meredith, David Discenza,  Adrianne Hick, Lisa Carlson, Jenny Stodd, Alexa Hunt, Lexi Scheinberg and Olivia Linton as well as male, female, teen and youth ensembles.

“Home for the Holidays” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17. Tickets are $39 for adults and $29 for children 12 years of age and younger. They may be purchased online at surflight.org, by phone at 609-492-9477 or at the box office.

— Rick Mellerup



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