Probably no other cast in the D.C. metro area works harder for a laugh, or enjoys it more when it comes, than the cast of A Broadway Christmas Carol, now playing its sixth consecutive season at MetroStage. Three intrepid actors, with help from a versatile pianist, make Kathy Feininger’s delightful musical spoof of the Dickens classic feel as fresh and fun as ever.
Peter Boyer humbugs and harrumphs his way through the role of Ebenezer Scrooge with aplomb, while Michael Sharp and Tracey Stephens—billed as, appropriately, ‘The Man Who Isn’t Scrooge’ and ‘The Woman Who Isn’t Scrooge’—play nearly everyone else, tearing through Janine Sunday’s endlessly inventive costumes and wigs at breakneck speed. Sharp also directs and choreographs.
At the piano, Howard Breitbart (“The Man Behind the Piano”), indefatigably pounds out show tunes and incidental music and also serves as The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. It’s doubtful that many other pianists have so capably managed to play the title tune from The Phantom of the Opera while wearing a mask and a hood and threateningly waving a skeleton’s arm.
Feininger’s revamped lyrics to various Broadway songs, from shows ranging from Oklahoma! to Avenue Q, are great fun, and the performers sell them for all they’re worth, mugging and soft-shoeing and generally wringing every last drop of applause out of the audience with every last showbiz trick in the book.
Though all of them are fantastic comic actors, Tracey Stephens deserves special mention for playing everything from Shirley Temple (as Scrooge’s little sister, Fan) to Carmen Miranda (as Marley’s ghost—no, really) and doing it hilariously enough to crack up her fellow actors and herself more than once, in true Tim Conway/Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show) style.
Alexander Keen’s flashy lighting, occasionally helped out by the actors with flashlights, adds to the zany atmosphere, and Alison Campbell’s simple but colorful set served the action well.
Anyone that sees A Broadway Christmas Carol this season is in for a roaring good time.
Running Time: Approximately one hour and 40 minutes, including one intermission.