“Madeline’s Christmas” takes center stage again this holiday season at Creative Cauldron. It’s charming, cheerful and has just the right amount of suspense to keep most young audience members intrigued.
‘Madeline’s Christmas’ at Creative Cauldron is the perfect length for young theatre-goers and full of wonderment and charm and love. You will leave the theatre humming Bon Année, the final song celebrating a joyous season.
This year’s staging uses many of the same props, casting a spell of comfort and familiarity. The young cast of Parisian schoolgirls, led by Lara Rosata as Madeline, execute their roles flawlessly. Anna Phillips-Brown plays Miss Clavel, the headmistress; she has a lovely and strong voice that enfolds the theatre in a loving embrace. Laura Connors Hull (Creative Cauldron’s founder and producing director) is kindly Mrs. Murphy, the housekeeper. As both Monsieur Brun the history teacher and Harsha, the rug merchant who saves the day, Chris Rios is funny and kindly and mesmerizes (with the girls) in the show-stopping number “Abracadabra.”
Twelve young girls are lucky enough to live at a small Paris boarding school, surrounded by staff who care and who engage their curiosity and minds. As they are getting ready to go home for Christmas, eleven of them come down with bad colds. So too does their teacher/headmistress and the cook/house mother. It’s left to the fearless Madeline to step up and take care of everyone. On Christmas Eve, magic enters in the form of the rug merchant/magician Harsha, who with his 12 magic carpets and magical ring saves the day. And there are more surprises for the headmistress and cook on New Year’s Eve. Suffice it to say, everyone, including Miss Clavell, dares to try something new.
The rest of Madeline’s classmates include Abby Fred, Gabriella Modine, Armine Heard, Sophie Schmittel, Bein Mills, Mai Gabra, Peyton Rydzewski, Marianne Meade, Sophie Silva, Carmen Ortiz and Penelope Levy. As the zoo animals, magician’s helpers, mice ensemble and carolers, Leah Tysse, Maya Johnson and Nora O’Sullivan round out the talented young cast.
The entire ensemble gives delightful performances, and sing beautifully together, filling Creative Cauldron’s with a clear purity of sound.
The book and lyrics are by Jennifer Kirkeby and the music by Shirley Mier, and at one hour is the perfect length of time to weave a little magic spell over young audiences. Matt Connors directs with a clear appreciation of the gentleness and kindness of his material. Stephen Gregory Smith wrote the lyrics to the music; Stephen Mark Crisp is the music director. Margie Jervis again gives us a lovely, nostalgic feel for a holiday Paris with her set, costume, and puppet design. And finally, James Morrison creates magic with lighting design, particularly in the song “Abracadabra,” with a design that is like flying with brightly colored butterflies.
“Madeline’s Christmas” at Creative Cauldron is the perfect length for young theatre-goers and full of wonderment and charm and love. You will leave the theatre humming Bon Année, the final song celebrating a joyous season.
This is a joyous gift of accessible art for young audiences and a chance to watch some amazing young performers. It’s just plain charming and fun and a lovely interlude to the sometimes hectic pace of the season.
Running Time: One hour with no intermission.
“Madeline’s Christmas” runs from December 6 – 23, 2019, at Creative Cauldron in Falls Church. For more information, click here.