The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title The Christmas Gift
Organization Lincoln Hills Players
Date(s) of show November 19-21, 2015
Reviewer Letha Dawson
Review The Christmas Gift, an original musical by Dolly Schumacher James, tells the story of Alice (Isobel Hersch) and George (Ted Neeley), a loving couple, who have been sadly separated by George’s assent to heaven. The curtain opens with George up in heaven telling his guardian angel (Jim Jones), who is adorned with grand, white, feather wings, how much he misses his lovely wife, Alice, who is temporarily in an assisted living facility due to recently having had hip replacement surgery. George looks down lovingly on Alice and wishes he could be with her on Christmas. Without telling the whole heart-warming story, let’s move on to this grand production filled with familiar songs: “I Believe,” sung by Jim Jones; “You Are My Special Angel,” sung by Ted Neeley; “Toyland,” exquisitely sung by a beautiful fairy with gossamer wings, Lyn Sotir; and many more. Dance numbers are perfectly choreographed with toy soldiers in red and black uniforms marching in precise formation, Jack-in-the-box (Elaine Prosser) popping up reciting limericks, teddy bears dancing a tango in full furry sensuality, and life-sized rag dolls in their pinafores, pantaloons, and petticoats flying getting down with boogie-woogie and rock-n-roll. Clowns frolic and tis-the-season spirit overtakes the assisted living home residents. They dance with their sparkly red and green Zimmer-frames to the tune of “We Need A Little Christmas.” Zimmers tap, snap and set the stage to rocking. Busby Berkeley would be proud. If you’ve ever called Santa to give him your Christmas wishes, you’ll recognize the ornery elves who are manning Santa’s phones. There’s “Grumpy” (Nick Gerenday), and “Funny” (Bud Schumacher), who had the audience in stitches as they questioned the callers, “…Hello little girl…yes, and you want a rubber dolly …and what’s your name?” “Billy!”

Closing numbers bring the warmth of the season to Lincoln Hills with fine performances from Ron Smit singing, “Never Alone,” and Santa (Chuck Kaul) singing “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Special mention goes to Janice Henzel, choreographer; Janice Strong, Dance Captain; Marge Sage, Costume Designer; Joan Lacktis and Bev O’Brian, seamstresses, and Jim Prosser, Sound Director. This show is perfectly amplified. One can understand every word thanks to the actors speaking clearly and the sound volume just right. And of course, hats off to Dolly Schumacher James for creating the story and bringing it to the stage.

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