14 MONTROSE VOICE/DECEMBER 12. 1986
A Cute Little Miracle from Chocolate Bayou
Review by Bill O'Rourke
Chocolate Bayou's Kringle's Window
has a lot of excellent moments. I cried
for joy about 10 times.
First, there is a family that surely
must be related to the one in You Can't
Take It With You. The mother has had
to send her alcoholic husband away and
raise her children—two daughters and
an adopted son—by herself. She is aided
and abetted by the lodgers she takes
in—four college students. Though they
are all Ioveable loonies, perhaps the
most eccentric is the daughter who
refuses to speak again until her daddy
comes home. So she writes everything
down on paper or on her beloved com pu-
ter. She's an expert hacker.
Her little sister's schoolmates tell the
young tyke that there is no Santa Claus.
Director Leonard T. Wagner should
have taken a firmer hand to this material. The play is good, but needs judicious cutting to become anything
One large part of Christmas should be
sharing with those less fortunate. The
Houston Symphony Orchestra has a
plan where your financial assistance
can help high school and college students attend their performances. They
have been able to help a record number
of students that way this year. But it's
still only about 100.
Also, anytime from noon til 10:00
p.m., Monday-Fri day, you can take non-
perishable food to the Comedy Workshop. They'll save it for distribution
(left to right, standing) Sharon Bennett. Josh Goldbert, Katherin
Hallowell: (seated) Allison Baker and Trent Tellespen in "Kringle's
Window" by Mark Medoff
She is heartbroken. In desperation, the
mother promises to produce the real St.
Nick the next night!
Meanwhile, a strange, somewhat sinister woman intrudes into the little family scene. She looks and sounds like a
European bag lady. She turns out to be
more like Mary'Poppins.
There is a very happy ending (several,
actually) which proves that there is a
real Santa Claus. It also explains why
parents have to provide the gifts.
Sharon Bennett as the mysterious visitor is fully rounded—seemingly dangerous yet ultimately miraculously
beneficial. She is perfect in this role.
Katherine Hallowell, as the mother,
provides the fantasy with a firm basis of
There are six child actors in this play.
performing as child actors too often
do—giving us little gems of obviously
rehearsed characterizations. They don't
interact much with other people, but
they make extraordinarily cute little
Much ofthe rest of the cast is making
their Chocolate Bayou debut. The play
was not well designed for this company
but the company has been well redesigned for this play.
The only real problem with this show
is the writing. There are some wonderful
moments but they do not always flow
into each other. There is some emotional
dead airspace. Occasionally, the play is
weighted down with verbose philosophy not inherently germaine to the
plot. If Mark Medoff wanted to write
essays, some benevolent magazine publisher should have allowed it.
through the Houston Food Bank.
While Maestro Shimada has his Pops
people warmed up for their Christmas
specials, they'll be taking their show to
Texas Children's Hospital next Tuesday, sponsored by HI_AP. Bravo!
The Holiday Youth Fest, that yearly
celebration of high school choirs, has
begun. Check with the Museum of Fine
Arts for the schedule of this fine, free
Cullen Center will have free music
and hot roasted chestnuts at noon next
Monday through Friday.
Two Christmas extravaganzas open
next Tuesday—Theater Under the
Stars' Peter Pan (with Cathy Rigby)
and Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker
(with Janie Parker, Li Cunxin, et al)!
A little jazz, a little swing, some
country—it's Charlie Prause at Cleo's
21 through the end of the month.
I believe in colorization of movies
which were made helbre color was available to directors. But now I hear they are
colorizing things which were purposefully made in black and whit.— like the
Kansas scenes in The Wizard ofOz. The
Bookstop in the old Alabama Theater,
the Greenway III and the River Oaks
Theater are sponsoring a petition drive
against colorizing. To sign, drop hy any
Auditions: HCCS Choir: Dec. 16-18,
Choral Room. Fine Arts Center. Austin
at Holman. Info and audition appointment, 630-7264.
Any entertainers interested in per
forming along the sidelines al the
Houston-Tenneco Marathon on Jan. 18.
please call Hoopla Hotline at 7.r.7-7700.
Charlie Prause. Mike Nase and Brennan Nase now appearing at Cleo's 21
Dec. 1,'!, ln"42—a Dutch navigator, Abel
Tasman. discovered New Zealand.
B'days: 12—Gustav Flaubert, Cathy
(Peter Pan) Rigby, Edward G. Kobin-
son. 13—John Davidson, Dick Van
Dyke, Kichard Zanuck. 14—Dan Dailey,
Morey Amsterdam, Spike Jones. 15—
Jeff Chandler, Tim Conway and the
PVank Sinatra was horn on either
The Butler Did ///(Company Onstage.
12)—a backstage comedy thriller
Christmas Times (Main Street
Theater. 12)—a brand new Pearson and
Charlton musical revue. A look at
Christmas in the Southwest.
Patrick Clancy and Michael Berman
(Houston Center for Photography, 12)—
Melody Hall (Houston House. 12)—a
The Houston Bullet presents
The Nutcracker" featuring Janie Parker and
Dec. I 2 or 13, it seems. Kitty Kelley just
wrote an unauthorized biography of
him. ()f her advance, she jokes. "I got a
million dollars and a Giorgio Armani
suit to be laid oul in."
brand new Fleck and Koilei musical
about a C&W trio's encounter with a
Traditional Christmas Pops (Jones,
12)—Houston POPS with Toshiyuki