If you really want to experience Christmas spirit, then hurry and get tickets to Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury. It really is an outstanding holiday treat. The theater’s current production of “Christmas Eve at Earlene’s Diner” proves that with a good storyline, one can turn a Christmas variety show into a most uplifting and entertaining evening. This production earns its subtitle “The Best Dang Christmas Variety Show Ever!” Every year, many of the local actors from the area turn up at Seven Angels for this annual Christmas show event. Some are veteran actors and some are newcomers, but all of them are talented and share their gifts with a most appreciative audience.
Conceived and written by Artistic Director Semina De Laurentis who directs the show with assistant director and choreographer Foster Reese, the theme of a snowstorm paralyzing a group of television entertainers from moving to their destination, they decide to put the show on at Earlene’s Diner, where they are stuck for the storm.
Michelle Gotay as Earlene Babcock is as hilarious as ever. She is a born comic and knows just how to hit every punch line. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else performing this role as good as she does. Tom Chute, an amazingly talented and generous actor who often volunteers to sing and/or host community events plays tribute to the late Richard DeRosa who was the musical director for the very first “Christmas Eve at Earlene’s Diner.” Chute sang one of Richard’s original songs and did him proud.
Other talents who added joy to the event included: Sharon Amundsen, Geno Bascetta, Nicholas Bates, Lilyana Bodnar, and Leah Juliett. Timothy Cleary really got to flaunt his stuff as Santa Claus this year. He is the epitome of Santa and though he is Santa in each of Earlene’s shows, this time, he played a pivotal role and excelled at it. Also in the cast are: Charles DellaRocco, Brooke DellaRocco, Diane Delucia, Angie Emanuel, Lily Emanuel and John Fabiani, who played a nun in disguise and hit a high comic note. Jeannine Gallmeyer, Felicitiy Galarnequ, Ashley Greaney, Kelsey Guinipero, Kylie Healey, Ian Kindt, Zoe Kindt, J. Brian Lally, Norma Jean Lombard, Elijah Loucks, Anthony Marchetti, Michelle Marchetti, Robert Melendez, Ella Perrotti, and Jeff Savage, one of the veteran actors who is always on one stage or another. Zani Scott, a vocalist of supreme talent, was so good that the audience couldn’t stop cheering. Here is a talent that I will remember because this young woman is destined for stardom. It also goes to show how savvy audiences are. Even though everyone on stage did such a good job, audience members recognize superior talent and let it be known. Robert Melendez is another name to keep track of. He, too, will join the likes of stardom. Joe Stofko, Hailey Stofko, Nicole Thomas, Cheyenne Walent, Bryce Zalewski and Colton Zawisz round off this exceptional cast.
Nathan Baker, the music director for this show, emphasized the role that music plays in Christmas as well as enhancing every vocal in the show. Scott Andrew Cally designed the lights with Matt Martin designed the sound. Overall, this is a great family show that will have audiences smiling all the way home. Playing through Dec. 19; box office: 203-757-4676.
Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: [email protected]