December 3, 2013

Review: Casa’s ‘Frosty the Snowman’ is a heartwarming family tale

Superb casting and a fresh take elevate the classic holiday story.

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At the beginning of Casa Mañana’s reboot of Frosty the Snowman, young Julie admonishes Officer Bob for starting the show with the classic Frosty tune.

It’s the audience’s cue that this Frosty production will be familiar — and fresh. Many recall the 1969 animated TV special, but the Casa production delves a little deeper with a heartwarming story and energetic cast.

Officer Bob (Bob Reed) narrates the story of how Santa Claus sent Frosty to help an orphan named Billy (Stephen Newton). Little Julie, played admirably by Sarah Youngblood, who shares the role with Devan DeLugo, helps the tale along with her charm, reminding Officer Bob that the story begins on “Christmas Eve Eve.”

Billy has run away from his orphanage and has sent a letter to Santa asking for a family to love him. He meets up with a group of kids who have built a snowman and need a finishing touch — a broom. Unfortunately, the coveted broom belongs to “Mean Mr. Gardner,” who owns the local grocery. Billy unflinchingly takes to the task and becomes the hero of the day.

In his theater debut, Newton brings just the right amount of emotion to his performance and plays well opposite the commanding presence of both Major Attaway as Frosty and Bill Jenkins as Gardner.

As the other children go home to their families, Billy reveals to Julie that he has no home to go to and sleeps on a bench outside Gardner’s store. This is when Santa’s plan is introduced and Frosty is born. Casting Attaway, a Jubilee Theatre standout, as Frosty is brilliant. Attaway brings Frosty’s boisterous and beloved traits to life, and many of the musical numbers are elevated by Attaway’s rich baritone.

Don’t miss the sweet rendition of What Child Is This? from our own Mom2Mom blogger Julie Rhodes, who plays several parts, including Julie’s mom, in this duet and Santa’s elf.

One of the best reasons to go to a Casa show is to see the maturity of child actors who have obviously been trained well in Casa’s theater program. Director Noah Putterman, who is Casa’s education director, has done a fine job of bringing the best out of his young thespians.

If you are looking for something to warm you up this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with Frosty.

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