Reviews of shows from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and other local venues published by the Los Cerritos Community News. The writer and paper are in their twentieth year of covering these events.

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Location: Fear City, Ca., United States

"My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field." George Sanders in "All About Eve"

Monday, December 16, 2013

Colors of Christmas December 14, 2013

Colors of Christmas Cerritos-style

     By Glen Creason

          The traditions of the season are in full bloom in Cerritos: the malls are full, the car lots swarmed, the street decorations glittering and the big voices are booming at the sold-out Performing Arts Center. It is time again for four big-time singers to great the Yule tide in the form of “The Colors of Christmas” now deep into its second decade.  This year’s Christmas extravaganza was held in place by solid vocal cornerstones Melissa Manchester, CeCe Winans, Ruben Studdard and the dapper host Peabo Bryson who treats Cerritos like his hometown. This might be because Bryson has crooned his way into the locals Christmas hearts as the headliner in this show for 22 years now.
     This year’s fest featured lots of Christmas tunes and a few mega-hits thrown in for a rather full two dozen musical presents under the tree. These are the big voices that the production demands since they are on stage with a full orchestra and choir that really fills to hall to the tip top of the balcony with plenty o’ cheer. In some cases all four voices joined together in a combination of the old and new or broke off into duets.  “Unto Us,” introduced the principals and opened a good first half, followed by good old “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in four part high-octane harmony. Each star had a time to twinkle as did Peabo on “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “It’s Christmas” as well as the evergreen “Christmas Song.”

Ms. Manchester sang “My Christmas Song to You” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas along with a fine duet of “Counting My Blessings” while Cece Winans was more spiritual with “Because a Child Was Born” and light-hearted “Jingle Bells.”   Ruben Studdard seemed to be the crowd favorite and he did not disappoint in fine readings of “Someday at Christmas” and “I Need an Angel” that brought the house down. The stars sang their hits; Bryson with “Beauty and the Beast,” Ms. Manchester with a quartet lead by “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” Cece Winans with an astounding “Oh Holy Night” and Studdard on a terrific “What’s Going On.”  Yet, the very best moments were when everyone joined together in the spirit of the season, especially the choir’s “Are You Ready for a Miracle” and a sanctified “Go Tell It On the Mountain” that got the spirit into the feet and hands and hearts of the big crowd. 


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