Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR at BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater

"Holiday Spectacular" at BIG ARTS.

If you're going to call your holiday show "Holiday Spectacular," it better be pretty darn spectacular. I told John Ramsey that I wanted to see drag queens with blue lipstick belting carols at the top of their lungs. He and Bobby Logue do way, way better. Pray get thee to Sanibel, like now.


"Holiday Spectacular," the Christmas offering from BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater, (wisely) dispenses with a plot. Twenty-one tunes rain down like presents falling from a drunken Santa's sleigh. There are problems (oof, those what-were-they-thinking modern dance sequences), but "Spectacular" more than lives up to its name.

Elizabeth Urbanyck opens the show with a powerhouse rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Mariah Carey has nothing on these pipes. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Dear BIG ARTS - this should be your video Christmas card.

"Spectacular" also reaches back to find a few unexpected gems - songs you might not think of in the context of a "Christmas revue." Freres delivers the night's knockout performance, crooning a sublime version of Joni Mitchell's "River." Taken from 1971's "Blue" album, the lover's lament feels tender, longing and oh-so-gorgeous in her sultry voice.


"Holiday Spectacular" plays at 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday through Dec. 30 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 26; a 4 p.m. twilight show on Dec. 29 and a special 7 p.m. New Year's Eve show at 7 p.m.

For tickets ($35 for adults, $5 for students, kids) call the BIG ARTS Marks Box Office at (239) 395-0900, Strauss Theater box office at (239) 472-6862 or The BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater is located at 2200 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel, opposite the Island Cow restaurant. READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW...

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