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A Christmas West Side Story

 



Matt Walker and the Troubies (Troubadour Theatre Company) have done it again. They have come up with perhaps their best Christmas show ever. Every year Angelinos look forward to the latest mash up by the gang.  Examples of their past Christmas work include, The First Joel, Frosty The Snow Manilow, A Christmas Carol King, It’s A Stevie Wonderful Life. A Charlie James Brown Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Motown, Little Drummer Bowie, Jackson Frost, and that is only their Christmas shows. This year they also performed A Wither’s Tale, Fleetwood Macbeth, and an adaptation of Aristophanes The Birds for the Getty Villa. As you can tell by the titles, their shows are a retelling of stories using music by some pop composer or group. The results are clever, but funny, sweet, and ingenious.

This year’s Christmas show is a mash up of the now classic movie, A Christmas Story which is the tale of one kid’s quest to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and Bernstein’s magnificent West Side Story. Will the boy’s parents ever believe “a Boy Like That” can handle a Red Ryder? What sets this production apart is the enormous amount of dancing required to pull it off. Walker and fellow thespians pay homage to the choreography of Jerome Robbins while, at the same time sending it up. Out of nowhere a character might leap into the air.

Matt Walker himself plays little Ralphie, the boy in A Christmas Story. Walker never hogs the stage but allows members of his company to star as well. On this occasion he has brought along several of my favorites, the crazy Rick Batalla who is liable to go off on an improvised tangent as say the lines, the super talented Beth Kennedy as Ralphie younger brother (who could forget her scene rolling around on the floor dressed for winter), and Lisa Valenzuela, a founding member of the company who can really belt out a song. It seems that every year the company improves their individual skills be it singing, acting, dancing, or tumbling. I look forward to every one of their shows but A Christmas West Side Story is exceptional. It is playing at the Falcon Theatre until January 15th.