A Can’t-Miss Family Tradition: A Beef & Boards Christmas

There are certain charming Christmas traditions that my kids and I just couldn’t miss:

  • Arguing over whose turn it is to put the star on top of the tree this year.
  • Watching my son gently placing Rudolph the THREE-EYED reindeer on the tree while making fun of his sister, who made it in preschool.
  • The anticipation of which delicate ornament will be broken first, and by whom.

Oh, the JOY and wonder of Christmas.

Right up there with our priceless traditions is seeing “A Beef & Boards Christmas.” It’s like wrapping yourself up in a big Christmas stocking in front of a crackling fireplace after a big turkey dinner, and being serenaded by the most beautiful, talented group of dear friends you could dream of. The fact that so many of the actors on stage are friends I’ve gotten to know from past productions across town makes it all the more special.

Kenny Shepard and Deb Wims were as graceful and charming as ever floating across the stage as the hosts for the 24th annual revue-style show of holiday favorites. They absolutely light up the stage. I got teary-eyed watching Deb – this will be her final year co-hosting the show before she moves out-of-state with her family. (Say it ain’t so, Deb!!)


The theatre looked so gorgeously festive. The ever-changing costumes on stage glittered with glam holiday spirit and made me wish I had an occasion fancy enough for a strapless red satin dress with a train. (Nice work, costume designer Jill Kelly Howe!)

Here are a few other highlights that my kids and I loved:


From Rudolph flying high above the audience with his light-up nose, to Alvin and the Chipmunks chirping along with Santa, to a mischievous Grinch who popped up suddenly (and sometimes simultaneously) in surprising locations all over the theatre, my kiddos were completely entertained. (“How did the Grinch move so FAST?” Daisy marveled at the end of that number. I saw a lightbulb slowly go off in her little mind. “Oh….MAYBE there was more than one Grinch?”)


There are tons of beautiful voices to enjoy in this show, as always. The bulk of the big vocal numbers were handled by a quartet made up of Cara Statham Server, Betsy Norton, Peter Scharbrough and Kyle Durban, who worked together well, especially on the tight harmonies. I loved hearing dancers AnnaLee Traeger and Alexandria Van Paris from the ensemble show off their great voices as they backed up Betsy Norton’s pretty melody in “Tennessee Christmas.” And powerhouse soloist Kendra Lynn Lucas absolutely brought down the house with her soulful “O Holy Night.” My memory may be failing me, but this was the first time I can remember a mid-show standing ovation for this show! She was divine. And the Beef and Boards Orchestra looked and sounded perfectly festive – I love how the musicians get placed right on stage with the actors, so they can share in the spotlight they so deserve.




I felt myself get a little star-struck when Santa Claus stepped into the show. He was adorably jolly, and even more so during intermission when the audience was invited to have photos taken with him. My daughters and I stopped to take an “elfie selfie” (with the best-looking and funniest pair of elves ever – Sean Seager and Ian Black) on our way to meet the big guy.


Right after getting our photos taken, Daisy had a horrifying realization. “Mom!! I forgot to tell him what I want for Christmas!!”

We went back.

She sat back up on that jolly lap, and shyly told him “I want a Fin Fun Mermaid Tail for Christmas.” He was sweet and reassuring. Then I reminded her there was one more thing she wanted to say. “I love you,” she told him, then wrapped her little arms around him.


Thanks, Beef and Boards, for a memorable, festive and love-filled evening!

A Beef & Boards Christmas is on stage through December 23. Tickets range from $41-$66 and include a holiday buffet. For reservations call the box office at 317.872.9664. For the complete schedule visit beefandboards.com.


Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless is an Indianapolis-based corporate communications advisor and freelance writer who began her career as a television news journalist. She enjoys performing in local theatre productions as her schedule permits, and has appeared in roles with Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis Civic Theatre, and BobDirex. Trisha and her husband Ben are proud residents of Indy’s Historic Irvington neighborhood where they live with their children (middle school through college age) and Golden Retriever.

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