By Heidi Sutton
The holidays have officially arrived with the return of Barnaby Saves Christmas at Theatre Three. Celebrating its 17th anniversary, the endearing musical, written by Douglas Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel, tells the tale of a little elf named Barnaby and his reindeer friend Franklynne’s quest to save Christmas.
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s workshop is a flurry of activity as elves Sam, Crystal and Blizzard make last minute preparations before they join Santa and his reindeer in delivering presents. The newest elf, Barnaby, is busy finishing a special request from Santa — a little stuffed bear with dark blue pants, buckles on his shoes and a bright yellow vest.
When everyone else leaves on Santa’s sleigh, Barnaby soon realizes that the stuffed bear has been left behind and convinces Franklynne the littlest reindeer to help him track down Santa and give him the present.
Along the way they meet Sarah and her nephew Andrew and learn about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, and try to foil villain S.B. Dombulbury and his partner in crime Irma’s plan to steal Christmas by stuffing up all the chimneys with coal.
While the script, score and lighting are pure perfection, director Jeffrey Sanzel has added other elements to the show to keep it fresh and exciting. This year the gorgeous new costumes by Jason Allyn take center stage with revamped choreography by Sari Feldman and the final scene is streamed live on Facebook.
This year’s stellar cast of nine adult actors put on a great show. Eric J. Hughes is back as Barnaby, a little elf “whose dreams are twice his size.” Sari Feldman returns as a feisty Franklynne, a role that was originally written for her back in 2004. Jason Furnari (the original Barnaby) is hilarious in the role of head elf Sam while newcomers Josie McSwane (Blizzard the Elf) and counterpart Katie Lemmen (Crystal the Elf) spend most of their time being hypnotized by S.B. (Spoiled Brat) Dombulbury (an incredible Steven Uihlein). Still yearning for a song-writing career, audience favorite Dana Bush is back as Irma for the 17th year in a row.
Rounding out the cast, a phenomenal Phyllis March reprises her dual role as the forgetful Mrs. Claus and Sarah and newcomer Finn MacDevitt tackles the role of Andrew and Santa Claus with ease.
The most wonderful parts of the show are the musical numbers by Douglas Quattrock with special mention to Hughes’ solo “Still With a Ribbon on Top,” “Miracles” by March (accompanied on guitar by MacDevitt) and the rousing finale, “Wouldn’t You Like to Be Like Barnaby?”
With the special message that Christmas lies within our hearts, the show spreads holiday cheer for children and adults alike. Add this one to your wish list.
Souvenir elves and reindeer are available for purchase before the show and during intermission and the entire cast will be in the lobby after the show for photos.
Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Barnaby Saves Christmas through Dec. 26. Children’s theater continues with Puss-In-Boots from Jan. 15 to Feb. 5, 2022 and a brand new production of Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 23 to March 26, 2022. All seats are $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.