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Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

Review: ‘Taffeta Christmas’ nostalgic fun

JAMES THOMAS/for the Van Wert independent

A Taffeta Christmas features a quartet, reminiscent of the popular 1950s all-girl groups (a la the Lennon sisters), with a perfect blend of harmony (kudos to Music Director Dee Fisher) guaranteed to capture the holiday spirit and an entertaining holiday treat for the entire family.

Sisters Kay (Jewell Kurtz), Peggy (Jamie Allen-Ream), Donna (Emily Klir) and Cheryl (Rebecca Zainea) have integrated Christmas songs or added a Christmas spin to many of the bits that make this production work so well: Taffeta Chatter (in which they answer questions chosen from audience members, the ads for Galaxy beauty products (“It’s simply heavenly!”) and the Christmas medley’s all wrapped up and presented extremely well by these talented ladies. In the solo numbers, each song goes to the voice and personality that best suits it; all four ladies deliver an incredibly strong vocal presence on stage.

The cast of "A Taffeta Christmas" at the Van Wert Civic Theatre. (photo submitted)
The cast of “A Taffeta Christmas” at the Van Wert Civic Theatre. (photo submitted)

A Taffeta Christmas is set in December 1959 at the Moose Hall in the Taffetas’ hometown of Muncie, Indiana.  The Taffetas are doing their live television special on “Hometown Hoedown” for the DuMont Television Network. The DuMont Television Network, the first television network in the country (true history fact, Google it), presented some of the most creative and innovative shows for their time and was licensed before NBC, CBS and ABC.

Some of the really fun parts are the many ingenious ways the Taffetas get the audience to participate: “Oh look, there’s Cousin Warren!” In the early days, according to the girls, they counted on him to have the latest fashion magazines, plus he designed their original dresses and their dance moves, and what happens with “Cousin Warren” cannot be put into words, the visual is priceless and a definite must see.

In an impeccable production faithful to both the look and music of those bygone girl groups, these “gals” approach the nostalgia with a light whimsical wink. Under the direction/choreography of Jerry Zimmerman, the Taffetas have added footwork and varied staging, and they punctuate song ends by striking poses with the visual sophistication of a chorus line. The Taffetas’ period dresses (costumer Ruth Ann Boley) seem to bring the whole 1950 period together.

Anyone who’s searching for some seasonal sounds to help get them into the holiday spirit will find those tunes and more at “A Taffeta Christmas,” the Van Wert Civic Theatre’s holiday production. Call the theatre box office, 419.238.9689 for reservations or go to www.vwct.org for more information, before it’s gone on December 6.

POSTED: 12/04/14 at 4:33 pm. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News