Commentary by Janet I. Martineau
Well, they don’t call them community theater actors for nothing.
Collectively they totally know how to really sell a song, decorate a set, costume for the occasion, develop a script and relate to an audience. Doesn’t hurt to toss in a dog or two either.
So it should come as no surprise that Pit and Balcony Community Theatre of Saginaw delivered a clever and fun, virtual, pre-recorded cabaret tonight, titled “Sounding Joy.” 19 songs, 10 singers, five accompanists and two dogs in 90 smoothly moving minutes.
(Insert here: It repeats at 7:30pm Saturday and 3pm Sunday. Ticket information and how to obtain a link to view Is on the Pit and Balcony Facebook page.)
So let’s see, we had a revolving Christmas tree, a pink and white Christmas tree with two guitars hung on a wall behind it, an itsy-bitsy table top yellowish tree and a couple of more traditionally decorated trees.
Andrew Fergerson and his brother sported two of the wildest Christmas jackets possible. Danessa Hellus showcased three or four her own cartoons as she vamped through “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.’’
Not sure how he accomplished it, but Ryan Sequin presented his own arrangement of “Wexford Carol,” singing all nine parts. His very own choir.
And yes the cast, filmed in their own abodes, could’ve sung all the boringly familiar Christmas songs, and there were a couple. But they also got boozy and jazzy and blusey and hot sultry. One nursed a drink. They sang about relationship issues at this time of the year. New Year’s Day was anticipated. And the evening showcased a lovely duet arrangement by pianist/singer Colin Whitfield and his wife Erin Whitfield
Among the various props was a Fa La La pillow.
And maybe the funnest of all was two narrators: Pit manager/actress Amy Spadafore and Pit director/performer Chad William Baker. Nope they weren’t content to just stand there and announce each number. They were in a full bore Christmas cluttered set, which apparently was Spadafore’s house. Clad in ever changing Yuletide apparel, some just awful.
Their nicely acted script had Spadafore negatively musing how much is missing from Christmas this year thanks to Covid while Baker tried to boost her up with positive thoughts. At one point Baker said in effect it is important to be a community and not just a community theater.
At the end nine of the 10 singers were linked on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Listen to those lyrics please.
Nice camera work, good sound. Some performers stronger than others, but hey.