From left, Renee Gonzales and Nancy Kartholl lend their vocal talents to First Presbyterian Theater’s production of Christmas Songs and Stories. In the background is pianist Tommy Saul. 7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 7-8
December 5, 2019
The holiday season that runs roughly from Halloween to New Year’s Day is more stressful than joyous for many people, even when they have the best of intentions — especially when they have the best of intentions.
The harder one tries, it seems, the more difficult it is to access the elusive magic of the season.
First Presbyterian Theater is offering an ideal respite from the year-end bustle and pomp.
Christmas Songs and Stories is exactly that: A revue featuring beloved songs, skits, and tales.
Unlike the more flamboyant holiday shows that tour the country at this time of year, Christmas Songs and Stories is charmingly low-key.
The first act unfolds much like a Yuletide variety special of the 1970s with the show’s two stars, Renee Gonzales and Nancy Kartholl, segueing easily and breezily from sketches to Christmas standards and back again.
The second act is entirely devoted to biblical tales and sacred music.
Piano accompaniment — and occasional solos on Vince Guaraldi compositions — is capably and puckishly provided by Tommy Saul.
With a show of this type, you couldn’t be in better hands than those of Gonzalez and Kartholl. Kartholl is her virtuosic self here, as adept at comedy as she is at dramatic readings. And Gonzalez quite simply has one of the most beautiful singing voices in Fort Wayne.
For many people, celebrating Christmas means listening to synthesizers blare Christmas carols — not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But if you’re one of the people who prefers something quieter, you shouldn’t miss this show.
It may be the cure for how the Christmas season is ailing you.
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