Published December 7, 2019 | By Adrienne Proctor
UCO’s Musical Theatre Christmas concert is a lovely holiday revue featuring Christmas numbers from a variety of stage musicals. There’s No Business Like Snow Business is a gloriously festive night at the UCO Jazz Lab. The show opens with the full cast performing “We Need a Little Christmas” and then breaking into smaller ensembles and solos. There are performances from several well-known Broadway shows, and they’re sung professionally by the UCO Musical Theatre students. The titles are helpfully displayed onscreen above the stage, and the numbers are eclectic and different, ranging from twangy country to all-out 1970s rock.
The Elves and Elfettes are joyful and cheery as they dance and sing in a rainbow of colors in “Sparklejollytwinklejingley”, a cute number from Elf:The Musical. The Elves are portrayed by Logan Boyd, Avery Ernsburger, Cale Smith, Logan Wright, and Pierson Van den Dyssel. The Elfettes are Ashlea Stewart, Isabella Emamghoraishi, Sophia Mullican, Libby McCormack, Sophie Mings, Skylar Hemenway, Alexis Lanzo, and Sydney Brown.
Maura McMurray is touching and forlorn in “Christmas Lullaby” from Songs For a New World. Hagen Wano is hilariously happy in “That Man Over There is Santa Claus” from Here’s Love: The Miracle on 34th Street Musical. A crowd-pleasing stunner of a performer is Madison Eckerson in “Hard Candy Christmas” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Eckerson’s voice is perfectly fitting for this song, and it’s a good thing. No self-respecting Christmas revue would forget to feature a Dolly Parton song.
The most impressive number yet closes out Act I with Libby McCormack and the Elves and Elfettes performing “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” from A Christmas Story: The Musical. This number is a catchy earworm and leaves the audience humming it all through intermission. It’s a spectacular display of choreography, including complicated chair maneuvers and TAP DANCING! It’s always exciting and an audible and visual delight to see tap, which is a woefully underutilized style of dance.
Act II pulls out all the stops! Odra Chapman is beautifully introspective in “Where are You Christmas” from How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical. Sierra Sikes sings “A Place Called Home” from A Christmas Carol: The Musical and it’s an aptly charming and emotional solo. Hagen Wano and Denver King are quietly sentimental in “Christmas Is my Favorite Time of Year” from Catch Me If You Can. Wano is once again seen as a sweet and encouraging elf alongside Sikes in “A Christmas Song” from Elf: The Musical. A sleeper hit is “Christmas” from The Who’s Tommy, sung with alluring magnetism by Shafer Wilkerson. Olivia White brings the house down as an embittered Mrs. Claus in “Surabaya Santa” from Songs for a New World.
The show closes with the full cast in a sparkly spectacle of evening gowns, vests and an abundance of blue and white with “Snow” from White Christmas.
Snow Business is artfully choreographed by Amy Reynolds-Reed and skillfully directed by Kassie Carroll-Downey. The gorgeous costumes are designed by Alyssa Courtier. The wonderful band playing us into the Christmas season is made up of Mariann Searle on piano, Bill Rapavich on drums, and Bryson Goad on bass.
There’s No Business Like Snow Business is a beautiful, twinkling show that gets even the Scroogiest in the audience in a festive Christmas spirit. UCO’s Jazz Lab is a cozy, close venue where you get to know your neighbors and strike up interesting conversations with your tablemates. If you’re looking for live music, there’s no better place, and the UCO Musical Theatre department delivers a dazzling display of holiday cheer! The only thing missing is the leg lamp!