When I was a kid, I loved "The Muppet Show," "Donny & Marie" and "The Carol Burnett Show." I thoroughly enjoyed the skits, musical and dance numbers, flashy costumes and decked out sets.
I've seen some great shows at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis. I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect from "A Beef & Boards Christmas 2009" ... but I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
This is the 17th year Beef & Boards has presented a Christmas variety show.
"Each year is special," said Doug Stark, owner of Beef & Boards, "Because every cast brings a different element of their lives to the production."
The stage was flanked by two tall Christmas trees, both adorned with twinkling red, green and white lights. The sets turned to change along with the numbers.
The show was a perfect mix of vignettes, songs and dancing (I particularly liked the dancing). While it featured many songs I was familiar with -- "Snow" from the movie "White Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "O, Holy Night" -- it also introduced me to some new tunes that I really liked.
The costuming was phenomenal. The cast came to the stage dressed in a variety of evening gowns and tuxedos, military uniforms, winter coats and earmuffs and choir robes, depending on the number.
The scenery changed quickly between a live nativity, an ice skating rink, a family's living room during a holiday party and a military background.
It was all done so seamlessly that I never saw it happen, and I was transported to all those different places.
The cast was fantastic. Everyone was perfectly suited to his or her songs and dances.
One of the highlights of the show was 12-year-old Anna Lasbury. What a voice this little girl had! She could sing right alongside all the adults in the company and not get lost, and she had amazing stage presence.
Also making appearances in the show were Frosty, Rudolph, the Grinch and Dave Seville and his singing chipmunks Alvin, Simon and Theodore.
My favorite part of the show was probably when Santa Claus took the stage to sing, surrounded by a bevy of young, pretty dancing girls.
That's something you don't see every day.
I wasn't really in the Christmas spirit yet before I saw this show, but I was by the time I left the theater. There is something magical about hearing people sing the songs of the season.
The show is directed by Elizabeth Stark and co-directed and choreographed by Ron Morgan. The music director is Terry Woods, and Brian Horton is in charge of the costumes.
"A Beef & Boards Christmas" runs now through Dec. 31. Tickets range from $34 to $57 and include a holiday dinner buffet featuring carved turkey and all the trimmings.