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REVIEW: American Music Theatre show celebrates Yuletide music

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STORY WRITTEN BY CHRIS CAMERON
For Digital First Media

Holiday excitement is in the air as a seasonal Lancaster tradition returns with an all-new original Yuletide family extravaganza, “The 2016 Christmas Show: Winter Wonderland” at the American Music Theatre.

SUBMITTED PHOTO A scene from “The 2016 Christmas Show: Winter Wonderland” at the American Music Theatre.

SUBMITTED PHOTO
A scene from “The 2016 Christmas Show: Winter Wonderland” at the American Music Theatre.

Artistic director Andrea McCormick once again delivers a fun-filled show full or holiday whimsy and traditional songs. The show features a talented cast of musicians, singers, and dancers. Featured this year are AMT regulars Julie Keough, Randy Jeter, Sarah Timm, Kyle Biebel, and Joshua Kramer Keefer.
The production includes about 30 songs over the course of two acts, both secular and religious. This year’s show takes place in a mountain village with a Bavarian theme. Act I opens with carolers strolling about and townspeople decorating for Christmas. Frosty the Snowman runs through the town with children during “Winter Wonderland,” while toy soldiers, an elf, reindeer, and gingerbread men dance around during “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”
The show’s song arrangements are often a new spin on traditional songs. “Nuttin’ For Christmas” has a country twang, while Keough delivers a strong gospel performance during “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”
The show mixes vibrant colors and highlights the voices of the cast, allowing the band to shine. Highlights include an instrumental version of “Sleigh Ride,” “Boogie Wonderland,” featuring dancing penguins set to a disco beat, and “Jingle Bells” with Santa rocking away on the guitar.
“Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Ave Maria,” and “Silent Night” exhibit strong harmonies and powerful instrumentation.
Music director Andy Roberts leads the orchestra which features Mike Lamberston, John Lemke, Michael Evangelista, Andy Mowatt, Jaren Angud, Robby Moser, Aaron Trasatt, and Mike Wittrien.
The show is centered around the Alpine theme, but the songs would work in almost any holiday setting. There are no characters to feel connected to, but audiences will revel in the strong voices of the singers and the creative choreography of the dancers. This is a holiday show that is a proven success and it seems to get better every year.

IF YOU GO

What: “Winter Wonderland” — AMT Christmas Show
When: Runs through Dec. 30. Times include 10:30 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Check for details.
Where: American Music Theatre, 2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster
Cost: $42 adults, $21 children 3-17.
Info.: Visit www.amtshows.com for more details.

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