The creative troupe behind the scenes at Emerald City Theatre are up to their old tricks again, staging their annual holiday production at the Broadway Playhouse Theater at Water Tower. This year, modifying Ken Ludwig’s Twas The Night Before Christmas poem into a full scale, hour long showcase, complete with song, dance and sword fight choreography to appeal to a more contemporary audience. Geared towards the kiddos, the adults in attendance laughed and clapped along in unison. Emerald City’s Artistic Director, Jacqueline Stone, played double duty, pulling the reigns as the show’s director as well, leaning heavily on the talents of her jolly cast for a result that is certain to leave every audience member enthused for all things Christmas.
The tale of this Twas The Night Before Christmas centered around a young girl named Emily (Kirra Silver) and her best friend, a hip hop dancing mouse, Amos (Alejandro Tey) as they prepared for Santa’s visit later that night, all the while her Uncle Brierly (Darren Hill) played host to an array of colorful holiday visitors. The creatures stirring here soon discovered, with the help of their new friend, Elf-B-I Agent, Calliope (Nora Lise Ulrey) that Santa’s Naughty and Nice List was missing just hours before St. Nick’s annual sleigh-ride. As they ventured forth to help find Santa (Anthony Whitaker) List, they encounter a group of silly characters including a Jewish elf “there are five of us” and a Fallen Elf who tried unsuccessfully to sell off Santa’s sleigh at Walmart as holiday decor for extra mullah at the holiday. Toys are expensive after-all.
Don’t fret, this kid-friendly yuletide treat does end happily with the message “courage, honesty and love” are the real presents to share year round. To add a little drama, there is a villainous, swashbuckling swordsman, Sir Guy, who tired unsuccessfully to impede our heroes’ process. With some impressive fight choreography by Gaby Labotka, the little ones’attention in the audience will be suitably held for the duration of the show. Rachel M. Sypniewski rainbow bright colored costuming and a rotating, collapsible set crafted by William Boles engaged as well. Will Santa get his missing Naughty and Nice List back just in time for Christmas? What do you think.
Twas The Night Before Christmas continues Emerald City Theatre’s tradition of producing entertaining and engaging live action theater for an audience of Windy City youngest residents. These productions are often the very first exposure to the performing arts these children have. Committed to aiding Chicago’s youth in all 50 wards to creatively face the world, Emerald City Theatre continues on with their One Fund signature mission, delivering over 5,000 elementary students to show performances and sending them home with companion books to read. Sincerely, what gift could be better than that?
Not to be outdone, Celia Villacres whimsical musical direction was put to the test as the show concluded with an inclusive audience sing-a-long of a diverse array of holiday themed hits including “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”, “Feliz Navidad” and “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah”. To paraphrase from the original poem, “now dash away, dash away, dash away all” for an affable afternoon with the entire family at Emerald City Theatre’s Ken Ludwig’s Twas The Night Before Christmas.
Emerald City Theatre’s Ken Ludwig’s Twas The Night Before Christmas is now playing at The Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place through December 31, 2017