''Deck the halls with lots of showtunes,'' Donna Migliaccio sings in the opening number of A Broadway Christmas Carol. And that, she does. By the end of the show, the halls are overstuffed with showtune snippets -- 40 or so in all. They're presented in a hurried, altered, name-that-tune kind-of-way, a gaudy effect that distracts from the story -- but then if you must deliberate on the finer points of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, you really need to get out more often.
Peter Boyer as Scrooge
(Photo by Colin Hovde)
A Broadway Christmas Carol succeeds on account of its zany, spirited sense of staging, and its willingness to not only spoof but mock tradition, especially the moralizing sensibility to Dickens's tale. Migliaccio seems to be having great fun onstage -- so much so, the accomplished actress sometimes struggles to stay in character, such as while singing as an Avenue Q puppet. Joining her in the revelry is Matthew A. Anderson, in multiple roles, and Peter Boyer, who mostly plays it straight (he plays Ebenezer Scrooge, after all).
A Broadway Christmas Carol is touted as a companion to MetroStage's wonderful hit spoof of all-things-Broadway The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!). Though it has its moments -- the comparisons of Scrooge to Sweeney Todd and Tiny Tim to Annie, say -- it's not quite that clever. (There's no original music here, for one.) It's also not quite that quick -- at least I don't remember Musical dragging the way Carol does. The first act could use trimming.
But then Act Two comes and goes so quickly, you'll be singing a new tune by show's end. Specifically, to the tune of a certain Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, ''Eb-e-ne-zer. Yeeow!''
A Broadway Christmas Carol runs through Dec. 19 at MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $45 to $50. Call 800-494-8497 or visit metrostage.org.