Confessions of a Christmas Banshee is a charming, delightful, and just a bit racy
hour of holiday entertainment, showcasing the triple-threat talents of its L.A.
based cast of four (who met a few years back while performing on Broadway).

Writer/co-choreographer/star Wendy Rosoff (42nd Street), an adorable pixie of
a singer/dancer/actress, takes us back to her childhood, when the Christmas
season was her most eagerly awaited time of the year.  Providing sensational
support for this dynamo of a Christmas Banshee are three sexy male elves,
Brad DeLima (42nd Street), Chris Prinzo (Mamma Mia), and Liam de Burca (The
Music Man).

Rosoff begins her ready-for-cable Christmas Special with a poem, “The Birth of
a Christmas Banshee.”  We learn that, as a Christmas-crazy child growing up in
New York, Rosoff decided to create her own Christmas musical, with the help
of her friends.  Recalling that time, 2007 Wendy and her elves give us a Dance
of the Sugarplum Fairies which combines ballet moves with chorus line kicks. 

If Confessions of a Christmas Banshee seems a bit like a live version of a 
Christmas TV special, it may be because Rosoff grew up adoring holiday
specials, forcing her brothers Greg and Jono (DeLima and Prinzo) to watch
them with her, and giving them pop quizzes to test their levels of

In “Claymation Education,” rapper Rosoff recalls watching Rudolph the Red
Nosed Reindeer (as we view clips from the TV special projected behind her).  
The infectious number has an early 60s pop rock feel, reminiscent of The
Angels’ “My Boyfriend’s Back.” DeLima and Prinzo back Rosoff up in this
number, prompting a jealous de Burca to ask, “Why didn’t you pick me?” to
which Rosoff quickly responds, “Go choreograph something for yourself.”    
(She’s so cute, we forgive her the bitchiness.)

Like many of us, Rosoff never seemed to get the Christmas gifts she was most
wishing for. “What should be filled with joy and love was laden with angst and
fear,” she explains, seguewaying into a charming rendition of “Alvin’s Song”
(“Me I want a hula hoop…”) which climaxes with an operatic finale, allowing
Rosoff to show her vocal range.  

After dancing to a spirited Louis Armstrong’s “Zat you, Santie Claus?” (with the
help of de Burca and Prinzo and three candy-cane canes), Rosoff describes to
us the “undeniable magic of a New York City Christmas”—Fifth Avenue, the
tree at Rockefeller Center, snow in Central Park (“before the dogs piss all over
everything”), the main drawback being the slow-walking out-of-towners with
their heads always pointing up, getting in the way of “real New Yorkers” who
are in a rush to finish their last minute shopping.

The quietly moving and beautifully sung “All Those Christmas Clichés” (“I want
a roof full of plywood reindeer, I want a road full of horse-drawn sleighs. All
Those Christmas Clichés”) is followed by the jitterbuggy “I’d Like to Hitch a Ride
with Santa Claus.”

Rosoff’s Christmas dream job of playing Mrs. Claus (though sadly not in New
York but in Detroit) turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, performing opposite
obnoxious midget elves.  One came up only to her crotch, leading to some
uncomfortable moments. Another, an overweight gal named Kimmy, liked to
run around naked, “looking like a giant Shar-Pei.” (This and a couple other
risqué segments make Confessions of a Christmas Banshee more likely to show
up on Showtime than on ABC.) Rosoff recalls her time in Detroit in “Baby It’s
Cold Outside,” with Rosoff, Fantasy Santa de Burca, and elves DeLima and
Prinzo doing some ghetto-fabulous tap-dancing to new lyrics (about the
Detroit experience).

Rosoff first realized her dream of performing on Broadway when she became
one of three new company members in A Christmas Carol. Unfortunately, this
meant performing not eight but an exhausting fifteen shows a week. It also
meant executing the impossible “front walkover” dance step wearing antlers
on her head and high heels.  This reminiscence leads to a hilariously rewritten
“Twelve Days of Christmas” (“On the first day of rehearsal, stage management
said to me…”), featuring DeLima and Prinzo as her obnoxious stage managers.

Our course in Christmas Banshee 101 concludes with the very funny indeed
alto’s lament, “Give Me A Chance to Sing Melody,” which allows Rosoff to
demonstrate how untuneful songs like White Christmas and Silent Night sound
when we hear only the alto parts.

Confessions of a Christmas Banshee succeeds both as holiday entertainment
and as a showcase for Wendy Rosoff and her talented elf companions.  Rosoff,
dressed in black in a figure-fitting “Banshee” t-shirt and Capri pants with high
heels, is so cute that many in the audience probably wish they could pack her
up and take her home with them for Christmas.  Her girl-next-door charm
makes even the “naughty” reminiscences and occasional use of the F-word
seem “nice,” and her dance moves make it easy to see why she was part of
the original company of the 42nd Street Broadway revival a few years back.

It’s also great to see two of my favorite New York to L.A. transplants Chris
Prinzo (a Reprise regular) and Brad de Lima (who starred in the SoCal tour of
Footloose) in a production that showcases their talents, especially as topnotch
dancers. Aussie Liam de Burca is new to me, but a sensational dancer as well.

Gary Austin’s direction brings out the best in the four performers, musical
director Rachael Lawrence provides lively keyboard support, and Melissa
Giattino and Rosoff’s choreography showcases the cast’s talent in various
dance genres.

The only downside to all this Christmas magic is that its brief four-performance
run ended yesterday. Hopefully, though, Rosoff’s Confessions will come back in
Christmases future.  It’s well worth wishing for a return visit.

(Oh, by the way, Wendy Rosoff is Jewish.)

Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
December 9, 2007

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