by Shawn Stalter
published November 24, 2018 on onstageblog.com
Fresh off the heels of a Thanksgiving spent with friends and family comes an energetic and heartwarming holiday romp through New York City on Christmas Eve courtesy of the talented cast and crew of Casa Mañana’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” With uptempo, high-energy fueled song and dance, it shook the audience out of a Black Friday-induced commercialized stupor for a glimpse into the heart of what makes the holiday season the most wonderful and magical time of the year.
The story, written and directed by Joe Sturgeon, follows a young Molly Midkiff, performed by Maddox Rogers, and her mother, Mary Midkiff, played by Laura Lyman Payne, as they traverse iconic New York City locales on a holiday scavenger hunt. This journey isn’t all sugar plums and candy canes, however, as its deeper, underlying purpose focuses on raising Molly’s spirits as she struggles with the painful absence of a loved one. Along the way, Molly and her mother receive some unexpected assistance from a pair of playful and quick-witted citizens of the North Pole performed by Laura Wetsel as “Jingle” and Emily J. Pace as “Jangle,” dispatched by the big man in the red suit to lend a helping hand.
Many locals, as well as those who carefully scanned the playbill, discovered that this season’s performance of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” held a special meaning for this Fort-Worth, Texas-based cast and crew. Six years ago to the day, child actor Caleb Midkiff tragically passed away unexpectedly on his way to the final tech rehearsal for this dynamic production. Casa Mañana dedicates this year’s production to honor Caleb’s memory and his love for the theatre.
This talented cast’s exuberant choreography and sweet vocal stylings snapped the audience out of a turkey-induced slumber and propelled both old and young alike into the underlying spirit of the season. With upbeat holiday classics and a wide array of pop hit-inspired parodies, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” is precisely the bouncy, yet solemn, celebration we all need to facilitate our journey into the boundless joy of the holidays and help recapture the essence of its deeper meaning.
Buy tickets for Twas the Night Before Christmas here
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Photo credit Chip Tompkins
by Shawn Stalter