B&B logo 2015

Perhaps the greatest thing about the holiday season is tradition – those revisited pleasures we look forward to each year – which only come around sometime after Thanksgiving. Just such a delight has reappeared this December – Beef and Boards’ annual holiday extravaganza, A Beef and Boards Christmas.

This 23rd edition of the spectacular show is filled to the top with 33 scenes and musical numbers – consisting of many familiar tunes and dances along with several brand new ones, all expertly staged and choreographed by Ron Morgan. The Beef & Boards Christmas Orchestra, directed by Kristy Templet – with Terry Woods leading the way on piano – does a great job on their accompaniments as well as with their featured pieces, especially (for me) “Carol of the Bells”, always a favorite. Jill Kelly outdoes herself with the plethora of costumes the performers wear. (I couldn’t help but imagine the crazy backstage scene as these singers and dancers race through costume change after costume change!) Thirty three musical numbers equals 33 sets of multiple costumes for each scene, sometimes requiring a change for all 16 performers! Simply amazing!

Beef and Boards Orchestra 2015

The Beef and Boards Christmas Orchestra – led by Kristy Templet (at piano, left)

Kendra Lynn Lucas gives a powerful performance of “O Holy Night”

Kendra Lynn Lucas gives a powerful performance of “O Holy Night”

And all of those performers shine impressively. Kenny Shepard and Deb Wims return as our master and mistress of ceremony – is this really their 17th year at this? They are expert talents, perfectly matched for their assignments. Kendra Lynn Lucas, who knocked us out last year with her vocal gifts, returns to knock us out again. Her powerful” O Holy Night” is one of the highlights of the show! Matt Branic returns with Peter Scharbrough as the male components of the Christmas Quartet. This year they are joined by Betsy Norton and B&B favorite Cara Satham Serber. This skillful foursome handles a majority of the catalog of songs, everything from classic renditions of age-old carols to swinging versions of some newer compositions. Plus, each does a great job with a solo performance, especially Ms. Serber’s dazzling turn with an innovative arrangement of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

B&BC 2015 Jingle Bell Rock

The featured quartet (from left) Betsy Norton, Peter Scharbrough, Matt Branic and Cara Statham Serber perform “Jingle Bell Rock”

Enough can’t be said about the tremendous corps of dancers who add so much to the presentations. Again, I bring up the numbers here – most of the 33 musical numbers have dancing involved and I am awed by anyone who can remember and perform so many different combinations and do them so flawlessly. Just remarkable!

Co-hosts Deb Wims (left) and Kenny Shepard (right) return with Santa

Co-hosts Deb Wims (left) and Kenny Shepard (right) return with Santa

Finally – Josh Stark has a fun time with his role as Santa, proving once again what a talented family the Starks are. I especially enjoyed his turn as an Elvisesque Santa for “Blue Christmas” – pure fun!

Top all this off with the great selections on Chef Odell Ward’s awesome buffet – and you have another perfect evening at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. This show will definitely give your holiday spirit a lift!

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