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Home for the Holidays 2007
a Holiday Musical
by Robert Egizio and Chuck Welcome; Musical arrangements by Linda Uzelac

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 2517

SHOWING : November 23, 2007 - December 16, 2007



Stage Door's Christmas card to our audience, now in its fourth year! Join Mom and Dad, and their family and friends as they once again recall their favorite Christmas memories while unexpectedly stranded on Christmas Eve. The new Holiday tradition returns with new music and dialogue and great renditions of your favorite holiday tunes. And this year it's at Mom's house!

Director Robert Egizio
Musical Director Linda Uzelac
Sound Design Dan Bauman
Stage Manager Courtney Loner
Scenic Design Chuck Welcome
Lighting Design John David Williams
Noel Summer Bergeron
Dad George Deavours
Mary Rachel Miller
Mom Cathe Hall Payne
Jack Spencer G. Stephens
Joe Craig Waldrip
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Best Christmas Ever!
by Mama Alma
Monday, December 3, 2007
This was the third time I've seen Home for the Holidays, and I was expecting the same homey, comfortable presentation of years past, but it's been reworked, with some really nice touches, turning a "nice" play into a "great" experience.

Cathy Hall Payne and George Devours both turn in their solid performances. They've become my surrogate Christmas mom and dad. Cathy provides a lot of the humor of the piece, with her exuberant embrace of the holiday spirit, and George is the ballast that keeps her from floating away over the rainbow. It's to George and Cathy's credit that they seem like a couple that is not only married, but has a real history together.

Rachel Miller: best Mary ever. She really connects with her audience, letting them feel her pain when she sings about missing her man at the holidays. I hope to see a lot more of Rachel in the future.

Craig Waldrip has one of the best set of pipes in Atlanta. He just planted those big old Army boots of his and let loose. His rendition of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" gave me goosebumps. A real show stopper. Craig also has a nice comic solo, in a number about a previous disturbing Christmas experience. This number, sweetly cute in past years, has been changed, and is now hilarious, with Cathy Hall Payne adding a surreptitious counterpoint.

Spencer Stephens injects real life into the banter between his character and Summer Bergeron's Noel. He makes the tension palpable and elevates the entire situation far beyond a set piece for songs. His picture should be in the dictionary next to the phrase "comic timing." His sweet voice also invested his own solos of "The Christmas Song" and "White Christmas" with poignancy and longing for home and tradition.

But I've saved the best for last. In addition to providing a comic foil for Spencer (giving as good as she gets, and after all is said and done, getting the last laugh), Summer Bergeron is one hell of a song stylist. "O Holy Night" is usually performed as a soaring flight into the stratosphere by sopranos with supreme confidence (and a little pride, let's admit) in the top of their range. It's beautiful to perform and divine to behold, and it's been done 99 ways to sundown. Summer's take is more hymn than aria, reminding us of the reason for the holy night's existence. Her voice is so rich, so mellifluous, that she glides through the high notes like they're nothing special. She places her emphasis on the commandment to fall on your knees in the presence of a miracle. She will leave you shaken and thunderstruck.

There's a lot of theater to see this time of year. It takes the precision of a military campaign to get everything in. Home for the Holidays is one program you need to get on your "must see" list.
Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!
by line!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
You know what I like about Christmas?

Usually not too much.

I have worked in retail for the last 25 years or so, and as such, Christmastime has always been something that I’ve endured, and not always appreciated. I know. I’m a Scrooge! A Grinch! A Humbugger!

When it comes to Christmas music, I kind of feel the same way. There are lots of Christmas songs that are great – THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD THEM! But, after hearing them 10 zillion times, they all grate on me. When it comes to Christmas, I’m definitely not the guy you want to invite over to your house for the Holidays.

And yet, Stage Door Players in Dunwoody did just that..

(OK, in reality they didn’t invite me. I bought a ticket – work with me here, OK?)

I was expecting to be hit over the head with a heavy handed dose of Christmas propaganda and Yuletide yada-yada-yada, combined with an overdose of syrupy Christmas songs. What I got instead was a Holiday version of the format that Stage Door does so well: the musical review (a bunch of songs strung together by a wisp of a plot sung by “easy to digest” characters). The gentle charm, strong talent and visual appeal of “Home for the Holidays” really won me over. I wasn’t expecting that. Did I mention that I don’t really like Christmas?

One of the first things that struck me was the sequencing of the songs. It was all of the usual suspects of Christmas music, but they were done in a way that wasn’t annoying, or cloyingly cute or affected. With only a few minor exceptions, they snuck up on me and surprised me with their poignancy and charm. Did I mention that I don't really like Christmas music?

A great deal of the show’s appeal is due to the talented cast, who basically fall into three couples: Mom and Dad, Joe and Mary, and Jack and Noel. While some are blessed with stronger voices than others, all of them blend together beautifully and each one has their own special qualities which are allowed to shine.

Cathe Hall Payne, as Mom, is the “poster child” for this show. She is a first rate all around entertainer! One minute she has the audience rolling in the isles with her great delivery, splendid comedic timing and quirky choreography. The next minute she has them choking back tears during her tender solo on “Grown Up Christmas List”. Her love of Christmas and her phenomenal stage presence combine to give her performance a glow that lights up the stage! A true holiday force of nature!

George Deavors, as Dad, has a lot to try to keep up with. He does his best, but is smart enough to let Mom run with it. He does a wonderful job of playing the ever hapless father figure. He is also just so damn cute! (makes you want to go up and pinch his cheeks, if you know what I mean) His rendition of Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” was a standout of the evening and a big hit with the crowd!

Craig Waldrip plays Joe, the perennial overseas serviceman who manages to get leave and come home for Christmas as a last minute surprise. While Craig’s character was a bit thin, his voice was exceptional. Definitely one of the best voices I’ve heard on stage in a long time! His solo on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” left me awestruck. Absolutely outstanding!

Rachel Miller is Joe’s wife Mary who is keeping a secret for Christmas. Gee, a young newlywed whose husband, the soldier, is stationed overseas, I wonder what it could be? You’ll have to go see the show to find out! Rachel has a strong stage presence, a wonderful voice and a winning smile. However, what struck me most about her performance was her movement. She was very fluid and graceful in all of her dance numbers and I sure wish we could have seen more of her dancing.

Spencer Stevens is Joe’s buddy Jack. I love Spencer. Whenever he is on stage, I know I will be entertained. He has a good singing voice, commanding stage presence and a great sense of timing and character. He is a truly magnificent entertainer who was really impressive singing “White Christmas”. I do have one question though: does it mean that I’m racist if I chuckled to myself just a little bit when it started?

Summer Bergeron is Noel, Mary’s “can’t get a man” girl friend. Summer adds a really nice layer of fun and “sass” to the proceedings without succumbing to stereotypes or over-the-top characterizations. Her standout solo on “O Holy Night” was a beautiful showcase for her gifts as a vocalist. Quite impressive!

Of course all the talent in the world is useless without someone to tell them what to do and when to do it (and what they did wrong when they did it the first time). This show benefits greatly from the gifted touches of Director Robert Egizio and Musical Director Linda Uzelac. These two are total professionals who consistently deliver quality productions to their audience. Linda provided her usual flawless accompaniment with a little help from the magic fingers of the multi-talented R. Todd Fleeman.

In addition to the staging and musical excellence of this production, the visual appeal of the set is another tribute to Chuck Welcome’s design excellence. I swear, he simply doesn’t know how to build a crappy looking set, does he?

In his curtain speech, director Robert Egizio called this show a “Christmas card to their audience”. I disagree. It is not a Christmas card. It’s a nice warm hug from an old friend at the holidays.


P.S. A suggestion for future shows: since we never learn the last name of the family in the show, may I suggest Halliday? That way you could rename the show "Home for the Hallidays" or "Holidays with the Hallidays" or "Happy Hallidays"! Or not.


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