A Christmas Carole Petersen feels less like a performance, and more like sitting around the living room sharing stories and singing songs. Tod tells the stories, walking us through Christmases past and present and playing multiple characters including his parents, siblings, his younger self, and Ebeneezer Scrooge. Denise Prosek provides the piano accompaniment and musical direction. "Carolettes" Ryan Lee, Sara Ochs, and Dominique Wooten help out with both the storytelling and the singing. The Petersens, comprised of Tod, his older brother, two younger sisters, and their parents, are a typical Minnesotan Christmas-loving family, the kind of family that sends out annual family status letters with the Christmas cards, and goes caroling around their neighborhood. The show is a delightful string of funny and/or touching stories mixed with traditional and unfamiliar Christmas songs (and one original written by director Peter Rothstein and Denise Prosek) that's thoroughly entertaining, very relatable, and utterly charming. My only complaint about the show is that the intermission is superfluous, and if removed would make this a perfect and succinct 90-minute-no-intermission show.
|Tod Petersen and the Carolettes (Sara Ochs, Ryan Lee,
and Dominique Wooten, photo by Emilee Elofson)
Lately Theater Latte Da has made great use of the bones of the Ritz Theater, with sets that feel organic to the space and incorporate the mottled paint of the cement walls. Not so here. The stage looks like a shopping mall decorated for Christmas, in the best possible way. A proscenium set in the stage, with deep purple walls and red velvet curtains, a Christmas tree, presents, wreaths, and holly galore make this a very festive scene indeed. And scenic designer Michael Hoover also has a few surprises which I won't spoil for you here. Rich Hamson's costumes continue the rich winter jewel toned color scheme.
|Tod Petersen (photo by Emilee Elofson)
A Christmas Carole Petersen continues through December 23. For more holiday feels, also check out Theater Latte Da's other annual Christmas show, the quiet and lovely All is Calm, playing at the Pantages December 15-18.