“Kris Kringle” Drops Into Proctors
Proctors hosted “Kris Kringle: The Musical” this past weekend, and while the musical tried to create a new holiday favorite, it had disappointing results. There were many children in the audience and I hope Santa is especially good to them because they were exceptionally well-behaved through this two act Christmas musical which offered very little to keep them entertained. Eve Plumb (Jan of “The Brady Bunch”) opens the show awkwardly as Auntie Sugarplum reading the story to a group of children seated around her downstage right. She never left the book and read her lines all night.
It seems that Kris (an appealing and energetic Kyle Sherman) is a kid growing up in the city who draws toys from the shapes the stars make in the sky. He’s led to a toymaker Roy G. Reedy (strong and villainous Christopher Shyer) by the desperate Ms. Horn (Vivienne Cleary). She dreams of a Christmas bonus for aiding her boss in his plot to disrupt the North Pole’s toy production by sneaking Kringle into the elf’s toyshop under an assumed name. There has been a Kringle curse that will freeze the elves once anyone from the Kringle family steps into the toyshop. Boss Reedy wants to eliminate Santa’s (an appropriately outsize Jason Simon) giving away toys for free so that children’s parents have to buy toys from toymakers from him. Are you with me?
Once Kris arrives at the North Pole he must spend time in the apprentice (unfortunate term) shop to earn his way into the elves workshop which he does at the top of Act II. Appealingly, the North Pole is inclusively cast and Kris learns from Mrs. Claus (a fine Rema Webb) and has a romance with his supervisor Evelyn Noel (Gerianne Perez) who has the finest song of the night with “My North Star.” Appealing to the kids, there is a parade of toys come to life, video projections are played on a book center stage which is the primary set piece, and there’s an elf with an Elvis fixation, Elmer (Nick Verricchio) who is controlled by his blue suede shoes.
The book is by Maria Ciampi and the music and lyrics are by Tim Janis & Angelo Natale. The songs are well played but struck my ear as derivative and I could hear strains of popular Christmas music throughout. Many of the songs relied on a theme of self-actualization and the emotional climax was devoted to a song called “Forgiveness” which was stirringly sung but beyond children’s concerns. Director Frank Galgano and choreographer Jaimie Selke kept the show moving, buoyant and bright but I can’t say I was especially moved by the story which had too much contrivance, not enough magic, and far too little heart. I thought the costumes by Inda Blatch-Gleib, who also did the set, were terrific.