Presented by Reagle Music Theatre with Eternal Artists NYC
Written and created by Eternal Artists NYC
Appearances by Joey Cullinane, Justin Long, Shoshana Bean, Leanne Cope, Maria Bilbao, Nati Rabinowitz, Cristina Lucas, Erica Lustig, and more.
Orchestra: Rose van Dyne (Conductor), Sophie Manoloff (Trumpet), Earle Perez (Cello), Miles Plant (Piano/Overture Orchestrations), Michael Brinzer (Reeds), Cosima Ho (Bells)
December 10, 11, 12 and 13 at 12:30 p.m.
Streamed live via Zoom
Viewers are encouraged to reserve screens early.
Tickets are limited to 120.
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — Santa’s Holiday Extravaganza! is a holiday treat! This production injects the mid-day lunch hour with necessary levity. 2020 might be the worst of years since 2008, this week’s musical and dance potpourri brought to us by Reagle Music Theatre and Eternal Artists NYC shows us that festive celebration is good no matter the medium.
December productions of A Christmas Carol are a tradition. Theatre companies do their darndest to infuse new life into this exhausted classic. A new show, unrelated to the Dickens story is a welcome change to the theatre landscape.
Tickets patrons with a performance link are welcomed to their Zoom room by two elves in costume. You will recognize them by their pointy ears, bright smiles, and cheerful Zoom backgrounds depicting rooms dressed in holiday decorations. Our room was warmly welcomed by Elli the Elf and Holly Twinklepants. They informed us all we were in the right place and kept us company as other patrons arrived.
Just before the performance started, the Ringmaster informed us of the rules of Santa’s Holiday Extravaganza!: no using the chat (so everyone could focus on the performance and not each other), videos and mics must remain off during the performance (ditto, but this means you can sing along to the show!), and keep the show in fullscreen. We were reminded to grab our cookie ingredients if we had them so we could create with Kristen’s Kreations. (Adults, if you forget to get ingredients, the instructions are simple and you can make Kristen’s cookies after the show.)
Interactions with the Zoom elves and the Ringmaster were live. The performances by regional and Broadway actors were pre-filmed so the cast could perform from the safety of their homes and offices while practicing social distance protocols. The video runs about 40 minutes.
Justin Long starts the video by bragging about his covid-mullet. It’s not very Christmas-y… But his speech is significant because Long reminds us about the importance of saving regional theatres. Many theatre companies are suffering because the pandemic has kept them closed. By donating to regional theatres, individuals are investing in the arts and providing opportunities to actors all over the US. Ensuring that actors like Long have jobs in the future means that Long will never have to wear a mullet ever again.
After Long’s speech, we are treated to a collage of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza delights. There is tap dancing, selections from Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, carols, and, best of all, interactive singing with the cast! Adults and kids are invited to sing “RUDOLPH” (such as “BINGO”) with the Snazzy Singers and their furry friends, and to learn the ASL signs to “Jingle Bell Rock.” I had so much fun learning both that I sang both of them to my wife after!
Ellie and Holly asked us what our favorite parts of the video were in the break between watching the video and meeting Santa. One little girl was speechless; she had too many favorite parts! I have to agree with her, the video is lovely. There is so much talent packed into it!
But there’s nothing like meeting Santa. I’m an adult. I have sat on Santa’s lap in over 25 years. Telling my holiday wishes to a jolly man in a red hat and pristine, white beard was an extra-special bonus that I didn’t expect.
Santa heard my secrets (I wished for bipartisan work efforts in the senate and for a FREE coronavirus vaccine for ALL) with a big smile. He told me that I was being selfless. Was there anything else I wanted for me? A one-minute warning popped up from the Ringmaster. What I truly wish, for everyone, I said, is that we can be with our loved ones again soon in person. More than a shiny bauble or a fun toy that oscillates and beeps, I want to hug my family again. Santa understood.
And then I was promptly dumped back into the main Zoom room with my new friends where we said our goodbyes to Ellie and Holly. Kids and adults, please monitor your time with Santa closely! You only get a few minutes. I didn’t get to wish for a haircut for Justin Long.
All proceeds support Reagle Music Theatre. Patrons can support Reagle Music Theatre by making a donation directly online at www.ReagleMusicTheatre.com/Support.