“Twas the Night Before Christmas,” on a Virginia Rep stage,
Playing one hour long, for those young of age;
With Jan Guarino’s direction, a decent endeavor,
But Bruce Miller’s tale isn’t entirely clever;
Following Clement Clarke Moore as he writes his great poem,
The show lacks the pizzazz to bring it on home,
For young audiences need action, they desire great spectacle,
Not this adult-centered show, turning kids vegetal;
Starring P.J. Freebourn as the patriarch Moore,
Creating the verses destined to endure;
We see Moore as he frets, his daughter is sick,
He must finish his poem, and finish it quick;
The surprises are few, but not a full loss,
With a mouse named Diana, for the Supreme named Ross,
Played by Jessi Johnson, she belts R&B raw,
Backed by the Sugar Plums, Hayward and Shaw*;
John Hagadorn looks the part of Saint Nick,
His eyes all a-twinkle, his beard bushy thick;
With musical direction by maestro Paul Deiss,
The cast sings sweetly, to say the very least;
The set design looks like a storybook spread**,
And the lights will make sugarplums dance in your head;
Though it could use a good goosing, it’s pleasant enough,
If you’re in need child-themed holiday fluff.
* - Ashlee Arden Hayward and Pamela Shaw portray the Sugar Plums in this show.
** - Set design by Ron Keller and Jacob Sailer. Lighting design by K. Jenna Ferree.
Virginia Repertory Theatre’s “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” plays through Dec. 29 at Willow Lawn, 1601 Willow Lawn Drive. For information, call 282-2620, or visit va-rep.org.