Get a Little Christmas at MLT

Suzanne Monk
The Meridian Star

The Christmas season is off to a great start. The weekend featured three traditional Meridian performances – the Singing Christmas Tree at Highland Baptist Church, the downtown Meridian Christmas Parade and Meridian Little Theatre’s Christmas production.
MLT’s second play of the season is “Christmas My Way,” a revue based on music Frank Sinatra wrote or recorded.
The cast is small – just four people – and in the course of a couple of hours they sing their way through 28 Christmas carols and romantic Sinatra standards.

Chris Cooksey, who played Pharaoh in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” is back as a hip, finger-snapping rat packer. He’s paired with Sissy Williams, who appeared last year on the MLT stage in another Sinatra-inspired musical, “My Way.”

Balancing this worldly pair are a younger couple. Jason Brooks, another member of the “Joseph” cast, plays an All-American guy who’s more likely to toast the season with hot chocolate than gin. E.A. Herron, also an MLT veteran, rounds out the group with winning, and winsome, style.
The play’s action asks the audience to believe these people are Frank Sinatra’s friends, gathered to sing songs, tell bad jokes and reminisce about the Chairman of the Board.

The cast sings as a group, they sing in pairs, and everyone has their own star turns, all done well – although it really was too naughty of Chris Cooksey to wait until his final solo number to kick his performance energy into overdrive.

I also found myself watching Sissy Williams even when she was not in the spotlight. She is one of those self-possessed women, confident in her beauty, graceful and comfortable even in stillness. I’ve always thought it would be cool to be one of those women.

A three-man band accompanies the cast: Wayne McInnis on piano, Will Roland on bass and Scott Kratzer on drums. Set up onstage, they appear to enjoy the show as much as the audience.

Jimmy Pigford directed the play, with his usual deft hand, supported by music director Bob Hermetz and choreographer Pat Gray.

“Christmas My Way” is another winner for Meridian Little Theatre. … go see “Christmas My Way”… if you can get a ticket.

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