A Christmas show mixing the new and old in Reno | NevadaAppeal.com

A Christmas show mixing the new and old in Reno

Sam Baumann
Appeal staff writer

Leave it to the Reno Eldorado Hotel Casino to come up with a Christmas show that turns to both the traditional and the pop in one busy evening.

“Spirit of Christmas, a Magical Celebration” includes it all, from carols such as “Joy to the World” to the pop “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” So if you have had enough of plain old local choruses (always the best music around, of course, always), you might want to take in the Eldorado show.

This one is an import from England (there are 12 versions of it touring the world) and includes a chorus line of high kickers, some costumed penguins, pink elephants in tutus, mice with floppy ears, a clown who gets the audience involved, a beautiful leading lady and, natch, Santa Claus.

In a way, the show has a tough road to follow: Whether to aim at the kids (the penguins, etc.) or the adults; after all, this is a casino show. The adult side is well handled by anonymous talent; no cast names are listed, although the staff is repeatedly recognized. That is probably because the roles are interchangeable among a pool of talent.

In the Reno production, the leading lady in the low-cut dress is handsome, dances nicely, and can shake the rafters with the high notes. Her equally unnamed opposite tenor also moves well and offers a pleasant, if undistinguished, song or two.

As mentioned, the music covers all the bases with traditional (“Joyful Joyful”), pop (“Oh, Happy Day”), rock (“Rockin’ ‘Round the Christmas Tree”) plain pretty (“Silver Bells”) and that Bing Crosby standard “White Christmas.”

Recommended Stories For You

Get the picture? No offense to anyone, all the bases covered, great costumes and fine recorded music. And you can take the beverage of your choice into the theater with you.

Tickets are available from $28.95 for adults, from $20.95 for children. Call for show times, (800) 648-5966.

PATTI LABELLE ‘S MESSAGE

“I sing it at every show,” Broadway singer Patti LaBelle explains. “I’m diabetic, but I let everybody in the audience know, ‘If you’re diabetic, don’t be afraid – I’ve got diabetes, diabetes don’t have me!’ And then I’ll go into ‘One Touch Changes Everything …’ and they love it. I just try to bring awareness to people to check their blood sugar. Some people are just afraid of everything so I’m going to keep on singing that song.”

BET cable network was scheduled to tape yesterday’s concert at New Birth Baptist in Atlanta for a holiday special. LaBelle was joined by Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary, Shirley Caesar, Wynonna Judd, Tye Tribbett and Sunny Hawkins. It airs Dec. 19 at 8 p.m.

A SIERRA YULE

“Christmas in the Sierra,” an original Christmas show written and produced by David John and the Comstock Cowboys, plays at Piper’s Opera House for two shows on Saturday at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, and there will be fresh-made popcorn, a no-host bar and plenty of cowboy fun. Call 847-4768.

FROM THE VAULTS

“Through a Glass Darkly” was Ingmar Bergman’s last part of a trilogy about man and God. Released in 1961, it won an Oscar for best foreign film in 1962. A cast of four is all that is required, and all four were fine, with Harriet Andersson as Karin in a remarkable performance. It takes place during a vacation on a remote island retreat, where a family’s already fragile ties are tested when daughter Karin discovers her father has been using her schizophrenia for his own literary means. As she drifts in and out of sanity, her father (Gunnar Björnstrand), along with Karin’s husband (Max von Sydow) and her younger brother (Lars Passgård) are unable to halt Karin’s descent into the abyss of mental illness. “Through a Glass Darkly” presents a bleak vision of a family’s near-disintegration and a psyche further taunted by God’s intangible presence. Unrated, 91 minutes.

A GOOD – if grisly -READ

If thrillers are your way of escaping the winter cold, try Karin Slaughter’s “Blindsighted” (2001, HarperTorch, $7.50). It’s a harrowing tale with Dr. Sara Linton as the central character. She’s a doctor, but also the town coroner, and she stumbles on a brutal and messy murder while out to lunch. Some very grisly details but an intriguing tale. You’ll keep turning the 378 pages – if your stomach is up to it.