Rachel Zampelli, Rex Daugherty and Emily Levey
Photo by Bruce Douglas


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas at Adventure Theatre-Five Stars!

By Julia Exlin
For MD TheatreGuide
Adventure Theatre presents ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, an adventurous holiday play by Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor and Crazy For You), based on the beloved poem by Clement Clarke Moore. This lively production is wonderfully directed by Jerry Whiddon.

Set Designer Luciana Stecconi wows the crowd with a homey living room that is decorated for the holidays, complete with wreaths, stockings, and a sparkling tree. While the cast distracts the audience, the set transforms into Santa’s Workshop, a bright room filled with shelves upon shelves of toys and candy. Both of these sets are remarkable; the first evoking the comfort of the season and the second, the wonder. Lighting designer Andrew F. Griffin keeps the stage well lit, using spotlights for dramatic moments and colorful hues for song-and-dance numbers.

Music Director Wayne Chadwick supplies a number of songs, including playful raps and renditions of Christmas classics that are unique to the plot (such as “Santa Claus Ain’t Coming to Town”). Sound Designer Brandon Roe covers the rest of the bases with sound effects such as bells, airplanes, and more. Costume Designer brings out the Christmas spirit in her work. Besides the obvious and well-executed costumes that we are used to seeing this season, like Santa and Elves, festive cheer finds its way into even the casual costumes, using themed vests, sweaters, and accessories like glittery tinsel scarves to help set the tone.

Rex Daugherty (Amos) and Emily Levey (Emily). Photo courtesy of Adventure Theatre.
It’s Christmas Eve and Uncle Brierly, (Gary Sloan), decides to give the children a treat by reciting the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” However, he doesn’t get very far, as he is interrupted by a mouse named Amos (Rex Daugherty), who has his own version of the poem. He is indeed stirring (literally!) while making cookies for Santa, who he insists skipped their house the previous year. Uncle Brierly argues with Amos about this until Emily (Emily Levey), Brierly’s niece and Amos’s best friend, shows up and supports Amos’ story. They insist that Santa did not, in fact, visit their house last year, and they are fearful that he will not stop by this year either. When it seems that no one will believe them, an elf named Calliope (Rachel Zampelli) appears and assures them that several houses are going unmapped, and the numbers are growing. The problem is that Santa (Alex Perez – who also plays Sir Guy’s hysterical sidekick, Multch - does not believe that this is happening. It seems that it is up to Amos, Emily, and Calliope to venture to the North Pole and get proof that will convince Santa of the problem, find a solution —and save Christmas!

What follows is a grand Christmas adventure, filled with schemes, confrontations, mistaken identities, bravery, and all things naughty and nice! The cast is energetic, funny and great singers and their joy is contagious! Particularly entertaining scenes include a frenzied, confused chase and a lively swordfight. Will the threesome find the culprits behind the unmapped houses, convince Santa of the problem, and save Christmas? With a dynamic plot and talented actors, this journey is an exciting one that I guarantee your children will love!

Put some tickets in your kids’ Christmas stockings. It will make a great holiday gift.

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