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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Mrs. K and I were joined by our daughter Angela and granddaughter Hanna for a Sunday matinee of the 24th annual A Beef & Boards Christmas. This was the third year running that the Mrs. and I have had this pleasure, and as I sit down to write this review I ask myself – “How does one re-review a show that is, for the most part, a repeat of previous years?”

The first year we saw it, in 2014, I mentioned how I would have to wear out my thesaurus to describe the delights I saw. And last year, I wrote about the revisited pleasures we look forward to each holiday season. Now, after this year’s edition, I am at a bit of a loss for words.

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Deb Wims and Kenny Shepard (center) dance a Christmas Waltz in “A Beef a Boards Christmas”

Granted, the show isn’t EXACTLY the same as those previous years. Our hosts are once again the talented duo of Deb Wims and Kenny Shepard – by the way, this will sadly be Ms. Wims’ final appearance in the revue. Three members of the tuneful Christmas Quartet return: Betsy Norton, Cara Statham Serber and Peter Scharbrough are joined by erstwhile B&B performer Kyle Durbin, making his first appearance at the theatre in 8 years. Also, Josh Stark is back again as a funny, holly, jolly St. Nick. And Kendra Lynn Lucas once again wows the entire audience with her spectacular voice and her powerful rendition of “O Holy Night”. Many members of the B&B dance troupe are back, tirelessly performing a nearly unbelievable number of routines, in a seemingly endless array of Jill Kelly Howe’s colorful costuming. Additionally, the eight member B&B Orchestra is back in full force, skillfully led by Kristy Templet.

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The Christmas Quartet: (from left) Peter Scharbrough, Betsy Norton, Cara Statham Serber, and Kyle Durbin in “A Beef a Boards Christmas”

And the entire show is again top-notch – a wonderful mixture of bouncy and familiar holiday songs folded in with a satisfying sampling of traditional, sentimental and even emotional favorites. For me, the highlight is always a series of songs that begins with a heart-rending “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – this year sung to perfection by Mr. Durbin – followed by a touching military tribute and segued by the orchestra’s rendition of “Carol of the Bells” into Ms. Serber’s amazing “Do You Hear What I Hear?”. This is followed by Ms. Lucas singing her show-stopping “O Holy Night”. It gets me every time! And I guess that’s the point.

Christmas is tradition, and revisiting familiar experiences – and sharing them, as we did this year with our daughter and granddaughter. To me it is very much like having a favorite Christmas album that you enjoy hearing again and again. With each listening, you are reminded of past holidays and all their meaningful emotions. And since Christmas comes only once a year – it really never does get old.

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Kendra Lynn Lucas (center) performs “O Holy Night” in “A Beef & Boards Christmas”

Bottom line: B&B’s traditional Christmas show is once again a pleasure to behold. You may have seen it before – but that is actually an advantage. And if you have never seen it – you are in for an immense treat – enjoy!

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

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