Arts » Classical Music

Review: ISO Yuletide

ISO Yuletide celebration sparkles

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Here is your to-do list for Yuletide this year:

Arrive early

Pet the reindeer at the Circle's front door.

Pop high-fives with costumed holiday characters.

Pose selfies and family portraits around the lobby tree.

Put yourself in the spirit with pre-show organ music.

Purchase Taylor’s Bakery holiday cookie treats.

Then snuggle into your seats for two hours of holiday cheer.

Josh Kaufman won our hearts as Indy’s hometown The Voice winner and now he’s hosting ISO’s 31st annual holiday extravaganza with Music Director Jack Everly conducting a fast-paced showcase also featuring Sean and John Scott, “The Extraordinary Tap Dancing Twins” along with specialties by vocalists Mary Brumbaugh, Aaron Fuksa, Claire Wilcher, N’Kenge, Megan Noon, Natalie Renee, and Kara Watkins .

Yes, annual favorites return so three and four generations can share family traditions during  their annual trek to Monument Circle. It’s the 28th (and counting time) for the puppet wranglers to bring Santa on sled pulled by reindeer on to the stage for the beloved ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.’

And then there’s always ‘something new’ to start a different set of memories, this year it’s Kaufman’s take on Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song,” a “Santa’s Choice” skit won by ‘you know who’ as a reticent elf wowing the panel of judges, and a re-make of ‘the Nutcracker’ as “The Enchanted Toy Shoppe.”

The opening night audience on Dec. 2 especially enjoyed “Mrs. Claus’ Lament” presented with verve by Claire Wilcher and Aaron Fuksa, Principal Tuba player Tony Kniffen bathed in green lights center stage for Jack Everly’s arrangement of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and a new “Merry Christmas Mash-up” arranged by Everly, featuring the Company of dancers and singers.

Executive producer Ty A. Johnson is backed by a team of designers and a stage crew extraordinaire — most notably costumes that shimmer with specialty lighting. Choreography and stage direction by Jennifer Ladner earn praise. Production stage manager Ken Salesman keeps it all flowing.


What: 31st annual IPL Yuletide Celebration

Where: Hilbert Circle Theatre

When: through Dec. 23, performance times vary

Tickets: https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/event-detail/yuletide-family

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