By Heidi Sutton
While three spirits haunt Ebenezer Scrooge on Theatre Three’s Mainstage, the spirit of the season carries over to the children’s theater production of Barnaby Saves Christmas. The holiday favorite, written in 2003 by Douglas J. Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel with music and lyrics by Quattrock, has become a beloved tradition in Port Jefferson and one that is looked forward to each year. The show opened last Saturday and runs through the end of the year.
It’s Christmas Eve at the North Pole and Santa’s elves Sam (Josie McSwane), Crystal (Kaitlyn Jehle) and Blizzard (Julia Albino) are busy putting the finishing touches on the presents and loading the sleigh. Barnaby (Ryan Worrell), the newest and littlest elf trainee, tries his best to help but only succeeds in making a mess.
When Santa (Sean Amato) and the elves leave to deliver the gifts to children across the world, Barnaby realizes that they left behind a special toy, a “little stuffed bear with dark blue pants, buckles on his shoes and a bright yellow vest,” he enlists the help of Blizzard’s fawn Franklynne (Cassidy Rose O’Brien) to find Santa and “save Christmas.” Along their adventures they discover that an evil villain named S. B. Dombulbury (Steven Uihlein) who, with his partner in crime Irving (Jason Furnari), is trying to ruin Christmas for everyone, and meet a Jewish couple (played by Gina Lardi and Sean Amato) and learn all Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. There’s even a great chase scene through the theater!
Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the nine adult cast members do a wonderful job telling this adorable tale. Reprising his role as Barnaby, Ryan Worrell’s solo “Still With a Ribbon on Top” is beautifully executed and wait until you see him dance! And yes, Barnaby will save the day but just wait until you see how!
Costumes by Jason Allyn are exquisite and the choreography by Sari Feldman is superb. Utilizing the set of A Christmas Carol, the special effects are terrific, elevated by the futuristic lighting and, spoiler alert, it even snows in the theater!
With the ultimate message that “every day is a golden opportunity to be better than you used to be,” Barnaby Saves Christmas is a must see this holiday season. Your kids will love it! Souvenir elf and reindeer dolls will be available for purchase 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. 30. Children’s theater continues with Jack and the Beanstalk from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3, Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 21 to March 16, and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 13 to April 27. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.