Are you in the holiday spirit? Stockings hung from the chimney with care, cookies baking in the oven and hopes that Saint Nicholas will soon be there? The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati certainly is, and they’ll ensure you are as well with “Santa Claus: The Musical.” Leveraging their tried and true approach of placing a modern day twist on classic tales while delivering important life lessons, TCT manages to hit the sweet spot of holiday delight with an important reminder that Santa is always checking if you are naughty or nice. Targeting the youngsters in the audience with the wonder and energy of Santa’s workshop, this short and sweet musical is relevant to everyone as it highlights the challenges of change, the power of family and friends believing in you, and the importance of being honest and kind to others. “Santa Claus: The Musical” is a jolly good time with a lesson to boot(!) that should absolutely be part of your holiday traditions.
Written by Noah Putterman with music and lyrics by David Christensen and Luke Holloway, this TCT Mainstage production showcases a talented cast of all ages and experience. According to The Santa Clause Number 46 (in one of the funnier exchanges of puns), when Santa has served no less then 1,000 years, he may choose to retire but must find a “suit-able” replacement. He does so in Nick, who must navigate all the change and responsibility that comes with such an important role as Santa. Bob Herzog does a fantastic job as Nick, delivering every scene with a level of energy that we should all hope to achieve and is absolutely required by one filling the boots of Saint Nick. His daughter Bee, played wonderfully by Aubrey Elizabeth Jones, is really the star of the show as she ensures her Dad believes in himself, finds modern day solutions to the challenges they face and always keeps a positive attitude. The unique and outspoken elves, wielding clever and memorable names like Punchy and Chirpy (and bearing a remarkable resemblance to Teletubbies), who keep everyone focused on the job at hand while having dreams and opinions of their own. In a an hour of non-stop song and dance action amongst a larger than life set design, this cast engages the audience from start to finish with a sweet show that rivals the sugary treats available in the lobby.
Audience engagement is always a part of TCT productions and this musical is no exception. Offering up the purchase (or as a special treat to those who have joined their TCT Crown Club) of holiday-themed light up sticks to be used during the show and even making the audience part of the story at one point, TCT recognizes and appreciates their audience. One of my favorite parts is when their energetic Producing Artistic Director, Roderick Justice, kicks off every show with a short lesson on theater etiquette. TCT understands the importance of fostering a love of art and forever has my gratitude for embarking on a mission to share it with the next generation.
“Santa Claus: The Musical” is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your kids this holiday season and remind them that Santa has a list and he’ll be checking it twice. Be on the lookout for the remaining two TCT Mainstage Productions: Disney’s “The Jungle Book” in February and “Sleeping Beauty” in April. And do not miss their TCT Showtime Series at Red Bank, which often focuses on important social and historical issues — “Martin’s Dream” and “Rosa Parks” are coming up early in the new year. Thanks to TCT for yet another wonderful show and all you do — happy holidays to all!
Christi Geary is the proud mom of two girls (8 and 11), best friend and wife of her husband Brian, and an Associate Director at the Procter & Gamble Company focused on shopper innovation insights and analytics. She enjoys and participates in art of every kind, feeds an insatiable curiosity for learning every day through books and connecting with others, pursues different forms of exercise when she can find the time to balance out her foodie predilection (highly recommend DanceFix and Pilates Reformer), and delights in spending time with family and friends. Writing reviews for the arts is an absolute privilege and one she cherishes every day, with the hope that sharing her perspective will inspire others to embrace the arts.