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American Music Theatre’s ‘Home for the Holidays’ show delivers Broadway-style holiday fun

By Chris Cameron, For Digital First Media

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

If you’re looking for some whimsical and joyous holiday fun, the American Music Theatre in Lancaster has it. Their “2017 Christmas Show: Home for the Holidays” captures the warmth of family holiday traditions in a production that is sure to bring smiles to the family.

This live musical delivers a strong cast led by veteran AMT performers along with new performers in a Broadway-style experience that begins the moment you arrive at the theatre.

Artistic director Andrea McCormick and her team of artists and performers have crafted a colorful story capturing the spirit of the holiday season through song, dance, and an elaborate set that begins at home and travels to Santa’s candy factory and eventually ends in a “midnight” candlelit service for some songs of worship, traditional carols, and a powerful, harmony-filled rendition of “O Holy Night.” The performances range from inspirational to light-hearted holiday humor, driven by a nine-piece orchestra and a cast of over 20 performers.

The production includes about 30 songs over the course of two acts, both secular and religious. The show opens with “It’s Christmas Time” with cast members entering from the rear of the theatre, making their way through the aisles before entering the colorful stage. AMT cast veteran Wess Cooke takes the lead on “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” before the show segues into a humorous version of “Twelve Days of Christmas” around the dinner table.

The show mixes vibrant colors and highlights the voices of the cast, allowing the band to shine. Brandon Cameron delivers a rollicking rendition of “Jingle Bells” demonstrating his versatility as both dancer and singer. The band really comes to life during this song as trumpeter Garrett Faccone gets a workout showing off his chops.

The cast gathers around a gorgeous Christmas tree during “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “O Christmas Tree” as dad distributes the gifts to the children. The show transitions into “Christmas at Home,” an emotional number led by singer Patrick Detloff who plays a military service member returning home.

Singer Randy Jeter delivers a powerful rendition of “Joy to the World” before the setting changes to a formal ball with cast in colorful evening gowns and white tuxes. There’s a champagne toast with a seemingly impossibly tall champagne glass tree during “Auld Lang Syne” and the first act ends with a Trans-Siberian Orchestra version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” with a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.”

Act II opens with the children awaking in Santa’s candy factory, which children are sure to love. There’s lots of color and action on stage as the children interact with the elves and the “Peppermint Sisters” help out on numbers like “Candy Cane Blues.” Mrs. Claus dances with gingerbread men before the big man makes his way out on a sleigh to the delight of the children.

The setting changes to a candlelit cathedral for traditional songs such as “O Holy Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

This is a holiday show that is a proven success and it seems to get better every year. The show is an escape for audiences and focuses on the magical details of a joyous family Christmas. It sparks a sentimental holiday journey that is rich in both sights and sounds.