|Michael Moramarco and Brian Maticic|
photo courtesy Brelby Theatre Company
Click here for more information on this production that runs through December 18th.
"The original Brelby Theatre Company musical Quest for Claus: The Musical is both an original story and an adventure tale that uses the tradition of telling children a story on Christmas Eve to musicalize how one ended up becoming Santa Claus. While it could use a better opening and runs a little long, it is still fun and charming and Brelby's cast features three talented leads who bring plenty of humor and poignancy to this show.
...It turns out that the job of being Santa is something that is carried down from generation to generation within one family...Nick, Santa's oldest son, is the next in line to take over his father's responsibilities, his dad doesn't think he's quite ready. So Nick sets off on a quest to find a way to become the newest Santa. ...The book by Brian Maticic, Luke Gomez and Shelby Maticic has plenty of humorous dialogue and a bevy of theatrical characters that add elements of wit and fun. The score by Ben Cleaveland features some charming songs and varied musical styles. However, the opening is very slow and the show gets bogged down a bit, mainly due to some supporting characters that get solo songs that could be trimmed to speed up the pace, and the ending, while clever, could also use a big song to send the audience out on a holiday high. I like Cleaveland's writing style and I wish he and the bookwriters would come up with a really rousing opening number to introduce Nick and Jack and the mom and her son in a way that would really set the whole show up for the adventure element that it focuses on. ...The Brelby cast features a trio of leads who are all adept in portraying Nick, Jack and the woman Nick meets along the way and becomes enamored with, Layla. Michael Moramarco is charming and lovable as Nick while Alexandra Utpadel is feisty as the headstrong Layla. As the irresponsible and rambunctious Jack, Brian Maticic is playful and full of mischief and joy. Moramarco and Utpadel get several songs to sing where their clear, strong voices excel. In the supporting cast, James Beneze is an absolute hoot as the evil and campy Rat King and Jamie Maletz Watts is simply adorable as the sad, lonely and misunderstood yeti Bumble....Brelby's Quest for Claus: The Musical may not be perfect, but with a game cast and fun creative elements it still amounts to a fun, family friendly holiday show. With a few more tweaks and edits I think it could be a show that more theatre companies would be interested in presenting as an alternative to the more standard Christmas theatrical shows that most companies present year after year." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)