The holiday season is here and what better way to get into the festive mood than by seeing a holiday musical. Chris, Mrs. is the new feel good musical, which just opened with its world premiere at The Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. This is a holiday show that the whole family will love!
The story opens with an introduction to The Chris family: Ben Chris and his flashy, social- media-loving girlfriend Vicki; his teenage daughter Claire; and mischievous twins Samuel and Samantha. In exchange for a promotion, Ben has leveraged his late parents’ lodge, although there is one hitch: his brother Charlie opposes the sale. Ben, Vicki and the kids head to the lodge for the Christmas season to convince Charlie to get on board. The snooping twins find a ring in their dad’s suitcase and are worried that he will propose to Vicki, whom they dislike. The twins write to Santa to intervene and this materializes as Holly, a cheerful employee at the lodge.
Chris, Mrs. features original music, book and lyrics by Matthew Stodolak and Katie Kerr. Interspersed with the original holiday tunes are classic Christmas carols including “Jingle Bells”, “Oh Holy Night”, and others, so you’ll be able to enjoy some classic festive favourites.
In keeping with the holiday mood, the plot is light and somewhat clichéd – it’s the exceptional singing and energetic dancing that are the highlights of this show.
Set Designer Cory Sincennes’s outdoor Christmas market, which is the background for the number, “Capture the Moment,” is delightfully detailed with vendors and festive decorations. The lit Christmas tree and wreath in the lobby of the lodge create a nostalgic holiday mood.
Danielle Wade as Holly showcases an impressive vocal range with a gorgeous timbre especially in “A Christmas Song” where she hits an exquisite note in “O Holy Night”. The piece also features showstopping choreography by Sarah Vance including a dazzling tap sequence in “What You’ve Missed”.
Lucien Duncan-Reid and Addison Wagman are absolutely charming as the twins Samuel and Samantha while it’s obvious that Sarah Lynn Strange has a wonderful time playing Candace as she brings a lot of fun energy to her role.
Oliva Sinclair-Brisbane captures the big personality of Vicki and demonstrates her sultry and powerful voice in “Vicki’s Lament”.
Liam Tobin is delightful as Ben Chris, particularly while singing to the twins, voicing male and female characters in “The Great Snowy Owl”. He later demonstrates his powerful tenor pipes in “Are You There?”
One of the most outstanding voices belongs to Kale Penny as Charlie Chris. Penny’s soulful singing in “What You’ve Missed” has a beautifully rich tone.
Conductor/keyboardist Matthew Stodolak leads a rousing band consisting of bass, trumpet, trombone, drums and reeds, which greatly enhances the musical numbers. As a side note, it is wonderful to be able to see the musicians perform in the box seating.
Chris, Mrs. checks of all the boxes for holiday musicals: exceptional singing, exhilarating dancing and a charming holiday-themed story. This show will definitely put you in a holiday mood!
Chris, Mrs. at The Winter Garden Theatre is being performed until December 31, 2023. Purchase tickets online or at the Box Office.
You may be interested in reading, “Family Friendly Christmas Events in Toronto 2023″.