B&B Xmas logo
Never have I needed the help of my trusty Thesaurus more than today, as I ponder what I want to say about Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre’s annual holiday show – A Beef and Boards Christmas.

Here are some words which I will hope to include: amazing, breathtaking, dynamic, excellent, fabulous, fantastic, great, impressive, magnificent, marvelous, memorable, outstanding, powerful, sensational, superb, tremendous and terrific. And there are very likely more which I will need, but let’s start with these.

First of all, the show is a fantastic selection of the seasonal songs you love – at least all of you who love Christmas. The assembled talents that perform this song list are amazing – starting with an outstanding quartet consisting of Heather Patterson King (who was so memorable as Mrs. Banks in the recent Mary Poppins at B&B), Bobbi Bates and Peter Scharbrough (both returning from last year’s seasonal show) and Matt Branic (a new addition to the show, and I believe, to Beef and Boards). This foursome swings, pops, croons, wails, lilts and serenades us through an impressive songlist. They provide a rich blending of voices which add greatly to the familiar holiday songs – and each performer takes the stage for a superb featured solo, as well.

Clockwise from top left: Matt Branic, Peter Scharbrough, Bobbi Bates and Heather Patterson King form the B&B Christmas quartet.

Clockwise from top left: Matt Branic, Peter Scharbrough, Bobbi Bates and Heather Patterson King form the B&B Christmas quartet.

The marvelous song and dance duo, Kenny Shepherd and Deb Wims, are partners for an amazing 16th time in this year’s edition of the show. Their excellent talents are on display in both their two-some numbers and in the many great full scale production numbers that come up throughout the show. Both are blessed with fabulous voices and terrific dance abilities. They are a pleasure to watch – their many years together as dance partners showing through with polished performances.

Deb Wims and Kenny Shepherd in their 16th holiday show appearance

Deb Wims and Kenny Shepherd in their 16th holiday show appearance

Featured performer Kendra Lynn Lucas has a dynamic voice which she employs in a varied set of soloes and lead vocals. Her powerful and breathtaking rendition of “O Holy Night” absolutely brought the house down and resulted in a rare mid-show standing ovation. It was well deserved – she is a sensational performer and I hope she is invited back to B&B.

Featured vocalist, the fabulous Kendra Lynn Lucas

Featured vocalist, the fabulous Kendra Lynn Lucas

Backing up most of the 29 festive tunes is a spectacular corps of vocalist/dancers consisting of Ian Frazier, Joan Herrings, Lily Lewis, Jenessa Logel, Jennifer Maurer, AnnaLee Trager, Karen Webb and Tim Wessel. This group had more than a few of Choreographer Ron Morgan’s rich dance combinations to work through in their 10 or so days of rehearsal and they did quite a magnificent job with the task. There are excellent talents in this group and, frankly, just the myriad costume changes that are necessary for the show would slay a less resilient group of performers.

The entire "A Beef and Boards Christmas" cast!

The entire “A Beef and Boards Christmas” cast!

Speaking of costumes, I cannot say enough about designer Jill Kelly’s tremendous skills in this department. Having been in the previous show at B&B, I was in somewhat close proximity to the preparations for this holiday show. Ms. Kelly works extremely hard, with excellent ease, and somehow manages to select, size, rebuild, adapt and arrange the costumes for 16 performers in nearly 3 dozen numbers. And there are different costumes for each number, it seems. Simply magnificent stagecraft!

Let us not forget our Santa Claus – Scott S. Semester does a great job with this honored role. He has fun, sets just the right tone and at one point, makes quite the Elvis/Santa in a memorable “Blue Christmas” performance.

Scott S. Semester as Santa Claus  (with Frosty, of course)

Scott S. Semester as Santa Claus (with Frosty, of course)

Lastly, all this musical magnificence could not be possible without the incredible talents of the musicians in the Beef and Boards Orchestra. Playing onstage, they are a treat of watch as they keep the action rolling. Led by Kristy Templet with ample piano support by the incredible Terry Woods, the group had their own moments in the spotlight with 3 nifty numbers – my favorite being a tossup between the lovely “Carol of the Bells” and the lively “Charlie Brown” (from the Peanuts television special). Congratulations to Ms. Templet and her hard-working band members.

Well, I believe I’ve used my entire list of words! What a remarkable show! I would suggest that if you have not yet made plans to see the 2014 edition of A Beef and Boards Christmas and you want to find an event that will add to your holiday festivities, you should give serious thought to including this wonderful presentation on your calendar. Remember, the cost of tickets will include not only the show, but also Chef Odell’s holiday buffet – which of course includes a selection of turkey and all the trimmings!

A Beef and Boards Christmas continues through December 23rd. You can find out more about the schedule and reserve tickets by calling the Box Office at (317) 872-9664, or by going to the website at http://www.beefandboards.com.

+ – Photos by Julie Curry

Jeff Stockberger returns as Scrooge in Beef and Boards' "A Christmas Carol"

Jeff Stockberger returns as Scrooge in Beef and Boards’ “A Christmas Carol”

I’d like to add a word about the other holiday show being presented at Beef and Boards. The traditional B&B adaptation of A Christmas Carol is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary. The show stars B&B favorite, Jeff Stockberger as Ebenezer Scrooge. This one-hour version of the holiday classic can be seen beginning December 6th, with a limited number of performances available ending December 22nd. Go to the Beef and Boards website listed above or call the box office at (317) 872-9664.