A Garbeau’s Christmas
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre hearkens to Christmases past, clear back to the 1960s and ’70s, for its celebration inspiration. This was the era when families crowded on couches to watch hokey TV Christmas specials starring Bing Cosby, Andy Williams, John Denver, and Sonny and Cher. In those hour-long programs, singing stars would display harmless holiday merriment in the form of sentimental songs, silly skits and saccharine moments.
That’s just what you get in A Garbeau’s Christmas: a little bit of everything. In a two-hour show, an earnest cast presents winter-wonderland warbling, Victorian Christmas caroling, and secular and gospel numbers. There’s a shortened version of A Christmas Carol, a recreation of the Nativity scene and a reading of The Night Before Christmas. There are tin soldiers and letters from soldiers. We get an audience-participation sing-along of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” a visit from Santa and songs from around the world.
At each performance, a local dance troupe is given the opportunity to showcase raw, young talent. At a recent show, it was El Dorado Dance Academy. The musical selections range from “Santa Baby,” “Jingle Bells” and “Let It Snow” to the more reverent “Star of Wonder,” “We Three Kings” and “O Holy Night.” Dances include excerpts of The Nutcracker and modern expressions of old favorites.
The show is a virtual Christmas buffet tied up with a bow. The cast members vary in talent, but all are enthusiastic. The program is schmaltzy, in the best sense of holiday schmaltz. Whether this is your cup of wassail depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re seeking a sip of Christmas cheer that everyone from Grandma to tots can enjoy, drink up.