HT Review: Tap dancing and singing, Cardinal’s cabaret brings holiday cheer
Connie Shakalis | H-T Reviewer
December 12, 2020
Our theaters may be suffering, but that is not stopping Cardinal Stage from putting on a holiday show this pandemic year. Artistic director Kate Galvin, co-hosting the event with local singer Amanda Biggs, mentioned her disappointment at not being able to produce Cardinal’s beloved yearend extravaganza.
Instead, for the unforgettable 2020, viewers will watch at home, as a small variety of past Cardinal performers sing and dance, masked and distanced, many from their own homes.
I missed getting dressed up and greeting friends at the Buskirk-Chumley, then going through the McDonald’s drive-through on the way home. Something we’ve done now for seven winters. But I am thankful that technology and performer talent have teamed to keep providing some cheer in these longest of nights.
Thank you, Cardinal.
Is there anyone more appealing than Katie Swaney, the singing, dancing actress who began the night with “No Place Like Home for the Holidays”? Hair bright golden red, heels flying, smile wowing, this woman has it all.
A nice aspect was the casual conversation between acts, with co-hosts and performers talking about their holiday plans. I thought of the Westminster Dog Show and how I always like hearing the hosts talk about their own pets in between the judging.
Speaking of which, Ray Fellman’s terrier sat on Fellman’s piano bench as his owner accompanied the glorious-voiced Scott Hogsed. Yes, that obedient canine stole part of the show for me.
Amanda Biggs not only helped narrate the event but sang forcefully about building new traditions as well. Her face, angelic and perfect, needs to be on TV.
And, speaking of TV, I finally figured out who the terrific Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry) from one of the best TV — now on Netflix — comedies in the world, “Community,” reminds me of: Kate Galvin. It has been bugging me for weeks. Look it up to see if you agree. Both Jacobs and Galvin are brainy and funny.
“Unique” is one of the most overused words but applies here to two women who performed a clever duet about “Mr. Snow Miser.” They argued about the thermostat setting, and I thought, vindicated, “I’m not alone!” “If we move it up to 58, I’ll buy a pizza,” one of the singing, keyboard-playing women announced.
Ian Shaw took the prize, for me, Friday evening. His rendition of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” provided a finale full of pizzazz and talent. This guy can render a song with verve and charisma, vital for this kind of production. He also accompanied himself on the guitar. The company assisted, with Galvin playing xylophone as others danced.
Macy Kloville’s editing sewed the pieces together with not a single visible or audible seam. Good tech work. Galvin directed, and Brandon Magid was musical director as well as accompanist and singer.