Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Candice Glover. Photo: Carol Rosegg

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS:
THE BROADWAY CONCERT CELEBRATION
Performed by Candice Glover, Josh Kaufman, Bianca Ryan,
Peter Hollens & Evynne Hollens
Special appearance by Danny Aiello
Creative & musical direction by Jonathan Tessero
Through December 30, 2017
August Wilson Theatre
877-250-2929, www.holidaysonbroadway.com

 

 By Scott Harrah

 

Christmas concerts are nothing new but are rare on Broadway. Home for the Holidays: The Broadway Concert Celebration doesn’t feature any actual Broadway stars and instead showcases three young talents from TV reality competitions: Candice Glover, winner of season 12 of “American Idol”; Josh Kaufman, winner of the sixth season of “The Voice”; and Bianca Ryan of “America’s Got Talent” fame. In addition, there are appearances by Kaitlyn Bristowe from TV’s “The Bachelor”; pop singers and “Youtube sensations” Peter Hollens and wife Evynne Hollens; and a special appearenace by Danny Aiello, all backed by a live brass and rhythm band. This all makes for an pleasant evening or afternoon of Yuletide carols, but the overall feeling, while festive, reminds one more of a glitzy school swing choir or a Christmas variety show on cable TV than a bona fide Broadway celebration of the holidays.

Perhaps Home for the Holidays is a misnomer, because the only holiday noted here is the one observed December 25th, so this is strictly a Christmas show (sorry, no Hanukkah, Kwanza or New Year’s songs), with the women in glittery gowns by Sherri Hill, Stephen F and Noah Waxman, all looking convivial and full of seasonal spirit in their holiday finery. Creative and musical  director Jonathan Tessero has not put too much imagination into the show, an entertaining but mostly uninspired collection of both Christmas standards and a few originals. Unfortunately there is no song set list given in the Playbill, possibly because most of the material consists of medleys of cherished secular and religious Christmas carols.

The main reasons to see the show are Candice Glover and Josh Kaufman. Ms. Glover is truly phenomenal and has a big, rich, melodic voice that overshadows nearly all the others. Matching her closely is Josh Kaufman, a guy with a mellifluous set of pipes that may remind some of Stevie Wonder. One of the show’s highlights is a dueling duet Mr. Kaufman and Ms. Glover do, covering both “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and the Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas, Darling” simultaneously. While Mr. Kaufman sings of the joys of spending Christmas with his loved one, Ms. Glover belts out plaintively about being alone and missing her one and only in a new spin on the Karen Carpenter classic. In this particular number, Ms. Glover’s voice is absolutely haunting and heartbreaking, and is a wonderful juxtaposition to Mr. Kaufman’s more upbeat classic.

Bianca Ryan, best known for her larger-than-life voice on “America’s Got Talent,” delivers impressive vocals as well. She’s obviously styled herself after such multi-octave-range pros as Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston, but here she has a few pitch problems with some of the material. In addition, her manic hand gestures grow tiresome after awhile.

The rest of the featured singers are entertaining but otherwise forgettable. Although husband and wife Peter Hollens and Evynne Hollens harmonize wonderfully together, and must be given credit for such things as an original song by Mr. Hollens, don’t people mostly want to hear Christmas standards? A Broadway Christmas show at these steep prices probably is not the place to test out new, unfamiliar material. Thrown into the mix are Kaitlyn Bristowe, a young woman with a decent voice, and Oscar-nominated actor Danny Aiello, who sings a few songs (he actually has an admirable voice) and also regales us with tales of his boyhood Christmases in New York.

Home for the Holidays might have been a bigger draw with some genuine Broadway or major Hollywood names and more variety, but as is there seems to be a lot missing here. It would have been nice if Danny Aiello could have put on a Santa suit, for example. In addition, Jonathan Tessero’s creative and musical direction of these gifted young vocalists unfortunately never goes anywhere beyond the pop style of “American Idol” and other musical reality TV shows.

 

 

Edited by Scott Harrah
Published November 21, 2017
Reviewed at November 19, 2017 press performance.

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: (Left to right) Evynne Hollens, Peter Hollens, Bianca Ryan, Danny Aiello, Kaitlyn Bristowe & Josh Kaufman. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: (Left to right) Bianca Ryan, Peter Hollens, Evynne Hollens, Candice Glover & Josh Kaufman. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: (Left to right) Peter Hollens, Evynne Hollens, Josh Kaufman, Biance Ryan. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Evynne Hollens & Peter Hollens. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Josh Kaufman, Bianca Ryan & Candice Glover. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Josh Kaufman. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Kaitlyn Bristowe. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Danny Aiello. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Candice Glover. Photo: Carol Rosegg

 

Home for the Holidays

‘HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS’: Evynne Hollens, Peter Hollens & Danny Aiello. Photo: Carol Rosegg

 

 


Home for the Holidays Youtube montage

 

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