I was bitten by the Christmas bug even earlier than usual this year. I started playing the holiday music radio channels right after Thanksgiving. Our tree went up last week. I find myself turning on those cheesy Hallmark channel Christmas movies. Pine-scented candles are burning in my house. My nails are painted glittery red.
It’s going to be a great Christmas.
And it felt so good to celebrate another holiday season tradition: bringing my girls to Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre for a night of song and dance along with a holiday feast! There is something just magical about ending a long, busy day with a delicious buffet meal you don’t have to prepare, then relaxing into an evening immersed in Christmas spirit and talented performers.
This year is the 25th anniversary production of A Beef & Boards Christmas, a song and dance revue of festive and fun holiday numbers that includes a singing and dancing Santa Claus, Rudolph flying overhead (my kids’ favorite), the Grinch, Alvin & the Chipmunks, toy soldiers, a top-notch orchestra on stage, a quartet of vocalists, and a dance ensemble that always blows me away with their talent and energy. Kenny Shepard, who served as the featured host, has been in every production since its second year! I love watching the way he floats across the stage – he makes it all look so effortless.
I especially loved this year’s featured soloist Renee Jackson, a Ball State musical theatre alum who just made her Beef & Boards debut in Ghost, the Musical. In addition to her great voice (what a range!) she added so much personality and energy to the ensemble numbers. (“Cool Yule” was especially fun!) She looked amazing in all of her costumes, as did the whole ensemble (Great work as always by my dear friend and costume designer Jill Kelly Howe! Please let me know if you’ll be selling any of those holiday dresses, deal?)
This production also serves as a finale for the longstanding production―at least for now. Next year, Elf the Musical will be the holiday season production at Beef & Boards. My family has that movie memorized and “Buddy” quotes surface often in our conversations. (“Did you hear that…?”) I can’t wait to see the musical version!
I also want to put a word in for the other (limited engagement) Christmas show happening at Beef & Boards right now – the one-hour version of A Christmas Carol, which includes beautiful Christmas carols and a full holiday buffet. This show is always a heartwarming, beautiful way to celebrate the season! It stays true to Dickens’ classic story but has a quick pace that is perfect for families or a date night. I had the pleasure of performing in this production a few times in past years, and it always left me feeling like I was about to overflow with good will and Christmas spirit. “God bless us, everyone. It is just irresistible!
One note if you decide to visit Beef & Boards this holiday season: there are lots of great photo opps with the beautiful Christmas trees in the lobby and on stage, and with Santa during intermission! If you need a good Christmas pic, this may be your chance.
I tried so hard to get a good holiday pic with my youngest daughter, Daisy. She wasn’t having it. Goofball city. We ended up a pretty interesting montage of outtakes.
Thank you, Beef & Boards, for providing 25 years of delightful holiday memories with this holiday tradition. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A Beef & Boards Christmas runs through December 23. Tickets range from $42.50 – $67.50 and include Chef Odell Ward’s holiday buffet. Learn more at beefandboards.com or call the box office for tickets: 317.872.9664.
Trisha Shepherd is the Marketing Communications Manager for Riley Children’s Foundation in Indianapolis and a freelance writer for Midwest Parenting Publication. Trisha joined the nonprofit world in 2011 after working for 15 years as a television news journalist. Her memoir, “Know When to Run: Lessons from the Diary of a Gen X Mom,” documents her final year in the television business and her decision to make the leap into a more balanced life. Trisha’s anchoring and reporting work at WCIA, WHOTV, and WRTV earned her two Associated Press awards and two Illinois Broadcasters’ Association awards. She pioneered a series of “Generation X Moms” television and web reports through WHOTV in Des Moines, Iowa and wrote popular blogs on whotv.com and theindychannel.com. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis., with a B.A. in Communications, Media and Theatre and a minor in Spanish.