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"A Christmas Carol," November 21 - December 20, Trustus Theatre, 254-9732.
"Christmas in Lexington," December 5-14, Village Square Theatre, 359-1436.
"Jack Frost," December 5-14, Columbia Children's Theatre, 691-4548.
"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," December 11-21, Sumter Little Theatre, 775-2150.
"A Very Second Samuel Christmas," December 12-20, On Stage Productions, 351-6751.
"Jingle Bell Jazz," December 17, Trustus Theatre, 254-9732.
"Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays," January 3-17, Trustus Side Door Theatre, 254-9732.
"Broadway Bound," January 15-18, Workshop Theatre, 799-6551.
"Driving Miss Daisy," January 16-31, Town Theatre, 799-2510.
"The Nerd: Dinner Theatre," January 23 - February 1, Ritz Theatre of Newberry at Steven W's Downtown Bistro.
"In the Red and Brown Water," January 23 - February 7, Trustus Theatre, 254-9732.
"Disney's Peter Pan, Jr.," January 30 - February 15, Village Square Theatre, 359-1436.
Press Releases for Current Shows
Camden Community Theatre
Center Stage Youth Theatre
Chapin Theatre Company
Columbia Children's Theatre
On Stage Productions
Ritz Theatre of Newberry
SC Shakespeare Company
Stage 5 Theatre
Sumter Little Theatre
Village Square Theatre
Created by Local Artists, Columbia Children’s Theatre’s “Jack Frost” is a Cute Variation on Traditional Holiday Tales.
Review by August Krickel
Jack is like any other teenager. Although at heart a good kid, he sometimes neglects his chores, and prefers to sneak out of the house to play pranks and engage in mischief, often coaxing his otherwise well-behaved BFF Crystal to come along for the ride. Unfortunately, Jack's escapades can cause winter to come in the middle of autumn, since he's the son of the Snow Queen and the Frost King, and grandson to both Old Man Winter and Mother Nature, while Crystal's last name is Kringle, making her the daughter of Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Jack Frost is an innocuously cute little variation on traditional holiday fairy tales, running through this Sunday, Dec. 14 at Columbia Children's Theatre (CCT). Pre-schoolers might not grasp every nuance of the nevertheless simple and straightforward plot, but will still enjoy the festive colors and some amusing slapstick. First through third graders are probably the target audience, but at a recent matinee performance, dozens of middle schoolers were there too, probably imagining themselves quite chic and sophisticated, sitting with neither parents nor younger siblings. Yet every one of them seemed to be having a good time over the course of the play's one hour run time. In fact, I'd say that tweens, moms, dads and grandparents were about equal in number to younger audience members, which is common at CCT. There are generally enough funny jokes and one-liners to keep the grownups entertained, while kids can appreciate the surface fairy tale plot.
This particular story, however, is entirely new, with
book and lyrics by Crystal Aldamuy, and music by Paul Lindley II. Both CCT
regulars, Aldamuy doubles (triples?) as stage manager and choreographer, with
Lindley as music director and actor, in the title role. Jerry Stevenson directs
this delightful new addition to the holiday canon. CCT is in the middle
of their 10th season, and a number of their youth theatre participants are
graduating into mainstage roles, including Kaitlyn Fuller as
Aldamuy's script touches on some of the existing
folklore, with Jack seen painting seasonal colors onto foliage, and with
allusions to the Snow Queen's own teen years. Jack's mother is called
What impressed me most, however, was Lindley's score. He's a recent college graduate, and has only been acting for three years; all that was necessary was a simple set of hummable tunes to accompany some winter-themed lyrics that would be pleasing to the ear of the average elementary school child in the audience. While the accompaniment is simply his pre-recorded performance on piano, the subtleties and complexities of his songs are quite impressive. So much so, that I had to enlist his help to be able to describe with correct terminology what I was hearing that I liked so much. In a number of songs, the singers take the main melody, while the piano makes runs up and down the scale using passing nonharmonic tones within the chord progression, that help thicken the accompaniment. At other times, two characters will duet, but with each singing independent melodies against each other in counterpoint. Most often the lyrics are extensions of the dialogue, i.e. not just songs inserted randomly. In other words, Lindley and Aldamuy are doing things that remind one of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Claude-Michel Schönberg, just simplified down for a small stage, one keyboard, and an audience of tykes, toddlers and tots who wouldn't have known the difference. One particularly enjoyable number is a sort of variation on the core notes of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," done in a minor key. (I was quite proud when I guessed that term correctly!) As he describes it, Lindley continued the tune in an imperfect fugue to arrive in minor, but then the song takes off in its own direction, and becomes an aggressive sort of tango. Given that I can't read music, and that I don't have children, the fact that I bothered to figure out how to describe all of the preceding should be sufficient indication of what promising young talent is at play here, and how impressed I was.
There are a finite number of Christmas stories for children, and it’s always nice to see something new, especially when created by local artists. Jack Frost is the perfect solution for the child who’s just a little bored of the same old same old. But it just runs through this Sunday, with multiple morning and matinee performances, plus an adults-only, PG-13-rated “Date Night for Mom and Dad” (as well as the local theatre community who may want to go support their friends in the cast) on Friday Dec. 12th at 8 PM. Call (803) 691-4548 or visit http://www.columbiachildrenstheatre.com/jack-frost/ for ticket information.
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