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Beef & Boards Christmas

A Beef & Boards Christmas is back for its 18th year in a row. The variety show includes dozens of Christmas songs, gorgeous costumes and even a flying reindeer. Though this production has been around for almost two decades, this year director Doug Stark has revamped the stale elements and introduced some new ones.

For the first time, Eddie Curry acts as the show’s emcee, announcing performers and telling bad jokes. His easy banter provides the perfect does of sass to balance out the holiday saccharine. He holds the show together and keeps things moving along nicely.

The lead quartet features Christine Mild, who made a splash in this year’s “Always… Patsy Cline.” She’s a great fit for the show and adding her beautiful voice to the mix works well. John Vessels, who has quickly become one of my favorite performers at Beef & Boards, is another new addition. He’s shown that he is wonderful in comedic roles, like “Smoke on the Mountain,” but this role proves he has the voice to back up the humor. It’s rare to find such a charismatic and versatile performer and I hope Vessels makes B&B his new home for awhile.

Another change this year, Terry Woods and the BBC Orchestra took center stage, set up band stand style, during the show. The talented musicians performed classics like “Carol of the Bells” beautifully, even while fielding friendly barbs from Curry.

If I could change one aspect, I would remove the two kids from the show. Though the sisters are perky and talented, it’s hard to make their numbers feel like more than an elementary school Christmas show.

A few segments remained the same and continued to work wonderfully. Christopher Dickerson’s deep baritone voice provided a rendition of O Holy Night for the second year in a row. They retained a tribute to those in the military service who won’t be home for Christmas. And most importantly they included a nativity scene, reminding us all of the real reason for the holiday.

Kudos to Stark and the entire cast and crew for breathing life into the production. I hope future years will feature more of the same. This was truly the best Christmas show I’ve seen at Beef & Boards.

Don't Miss the Show 

The show runs until Nov. 21. Doors open for evening performances at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The buffet is served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. For Wednesday matinees doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the buffet is served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The show begins at 1 p.m. For Sunday matinees doors open at 12 p.m. and the buffet is served from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The show begins at 1:30 p.m. 

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Prices range from $35 to $58 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet. This production offers discounts; call the box office for more details.

2011 Season

Beef & Boards 2011 Season includes some new shows and old favorites. Season tickets are on sale now. They may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays). Tickets for main stage shows range from $36 to $59, and include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, full fruit & salad bar and unlimited coffee, tea and lemonade.

- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Dec. 29 - Jan. 30)
- Hairspray (Feb. 3 – March 27)
- Annie Get Your Gun (March 31 - May 8)
- Cinderella (May 12 – July 1)
- Church Basement Ladies 2: A Second Helping (July 7 – Aug. 28)
- Singin’ In The Rain (Sept. 1 – Oct. 9)
- A Wonderful Life (Oct. 13 – Nov. 20)
- A Beef & Boards Christmas 2011 (Nov. 25 – Dec. 23)

Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre


Anonymous said…
More like Beef & Give Me My Money Back. I knew this was a mistake when three "dancers" in chipmunk costumes sang and danced with two little girls the Chipmunk Christmas song. It was embarrassing. I was never sure if the actors were trying to be sexy or not. Whoever told the main singer to act pseduo-sexual as she took off her gloves and coat, sipped hot chocolate, and sang a song should be fired. That person did her a grave disservice. She should focus on her voice, not on acting corny. This show has no heart, no Christmas spirit, and very little talent. I don't think they could decide if they wanted to entertain children with nonsense like humans in cheap chipmunk costumes, or adult males with at least a dozen scantily-clad, skinny girls with inadequate bras. The show oscillated between just boring, as when they acted out the Nativity scene; offensive, as when the actors mocked white Southerners with tired stereotypes; and just laughable, as when a dancer in a reindeer costume descended, with pointed toes, from the ceiling as children sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." There are two skinny blondes who are apparently the main dancers. After shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance?, the bar has been raised. You can no longer take mediocre talents and put them up on a pedestal. Those two need to crank it up a notch. Their moves were easy and they made it look hard. Still think you might want to see it? The actors themselves seemed to know the show was off: the emcee said, after one particularly strained quartet finished slaughtering a carol, " Don't you love tight harmonics? I mean, that wasn't it, but when you DO hear it, don't you just love it?" The best thing I heard was, as I left, a very old woman saying at the top of her lungs, "IT JUST WASN'T VERY GOOD." She hit the nail on the head. It was a waste of money and a waste of time. The only reason I would recommend it is if you get your kicks laughing at other people's misfortune. Extra fail points for having an all-white cast: racist too. Shameful.