Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become the longest-running and highest-rated Christmas special of all time, becoming a beloved holiday tradition for many and for a limited time, the holiday special steps out of the television screen and onto the stage!
Appearing at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center from December 16th to 21st, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical creates a new holiday tradition. It’s hard to believe the TV special has been broadcast for 50 years, but teaching acceptance and diversity never goes out of style!
Throughout the production, Rudolph (played by Lexy Baeza) learns that being different is what makes him special. That’s a pretty good moral to the story, regardless if you’re a child or an adult.
Overall, the production oozes with nostalgia — which is a very good thing — from the sets to the costumes and even the dance routines. Interestingly, the show features a variety of multimedia techniques, including an animated background and puppetry to showcase background animals (similar to the previous TPAC Broadway Special, War Horse). There’s even some wire work in the production, tossing characters high into the air, which was fun to see!
Although I didn’t recognize many of the initial songs, I definitely recognized all the main characters: Santa Claus, along with all his reindeer and many elves, Clarice and Yukon Cornelius. Noteworthy performances include Wesley Edwards’ Hermey, who was most similar to his TV-based character in every way (including his voice) and Ryan Coon’s Sam the Snowman, who was pitch perfect as the narrator.
My all-time favorite character in the TV special is The Abominable Snowman, one which terrified me so much, when I was younger, I’d cover my eyes in fear. Here, the character is larger than life, in every way imaginable.
As the characters ventured to the Island of Misfit Toys, I realized this was my favorite scene. Sometimes it’s difficult being different, while hoping to fit in with everybody else. I wish this part could have lasted a little bit longer.
Overall, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is a holiday treat, one which can be enjoyed by young and old, alike. Make sure you catch it, before the yuletide spirit fades away.