STORY WRITTEN BY CHRIS CAMERON
For Digital First Media
Christmas is already in full swing at The American Music Theatre in Lancaster. Their new, original show, “The 2015 Christmas Show: Deck the Halls” brings the holiday spirit to audiences from the moment they arrive in the parking lot through the triumphant chords of their “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas” finale.
“We try to make the parking lot and lobby feel festive right through to the stage,” Andrea McCormick, AMT’s artistic director said. “There aren’t a lot of places where you can hear live Christmas music and I think that’s what makes it special.”
This year’s show features an old-fashioned hotel as the backdrop with fantastic singing, dancing, and live music presented by the talented cast and orchestra.
“This is my fifth year directing The Christmas Show,” McCormick said. “Each year it gets a little harder to top ourselves, but I think in terms of the scenery, the music, and the cast, we have.”
Act I begins in a hotel with guests and the hotel staff and it’s bridged together through the music and the interactions of the characters. By Act II Santa and his elves arrive at the hotel to bring cheer to the children, leading up to ensemble’s rousing finale.
The production features both classic and contemporary selections such as “Happy Holiday,” “Winter Wonderland,” “O Holy Night,” and “The Happy Elf.”
“The songs are all new,” McCormick said. “Even though we might use some of the same songs, the arrangements are different. I try to mix the whimsical with the traditional.”
The show mixes vibrant colors and highlights the voices of the cast and allows the band to shine. Highlights include the Motown-inspired version of “Silver Bells,” as sung by the hotel’s bell hops, the Harry Connick Jr. version of “Sleigh Ride” that transports audiences into the country side complete with horses and carriage, and “Something in the Air,” featuring the ensemble having holiday fun in the park.
“I want the experience to be magical for everyone and I want people who live near the theatre to know about the high quality of Broadway-talent that’s in their backyard,” McCormick said.
Featured in this year’s cast are Adrianne Chu, Missy Clayton, Wess Cooke, Cameron Edris, Kevin Faraci, Daniel Gold, Isaac Hunnicutt, Randy Jeter, Julie Keough, Jared Mancuso, Corey O’Brien, Michelle Rajotte, Marisa Rivera, Erisa Sloan, Sarah Timm, and Ric Zimmerman.
Music director Andy Roberts leads the orchestra which features Mike Lamberston, John Lemke, John Maurer, Andy Mowatt, David Shultz, Gabe Staznik, Aaron Trasatt, and Mike Wittrien.