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Holiday Spectacular Dinner Theater "Sleigh Bells Swing' Show Rivals Anything on Broadway

SOURCE: Published: 2008-12-22
Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra with Walt Szymanski, Conductor The Edison Ballroom
228 West 47th Street (between 8th & Broadway)
New York, NY 10036
212-201-7650
Reservations Required

A hip Big Band show, just off Times Square, George Gee’s 22 tuxedoed musicians back the Singin' Sleigh Belles gals, a Sinatra clone singer, a sexy vocalist, a tap dancer plus gravity-defying Lindyhoppers. Famous B&W movie stars interact with Mickey Marcello’s seasonal anecdotes after a sumptuous four course dinner.

The Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Edison opened in the 30’s featuring famous Swing-Jazz Bands. Redecorated by Glen & Company’s Natalia Todorova, a well-known Bulgarian designer, with plush black leather walls, art-deco accents in tones of whites, greys and platinum juxtaposed against illuminated glass tiles add the glitz and glamour - it’s the “new” Edison Ballroom.

Opening night MC Comedian Mickey Marcello announced that we would experience reality transformed into fantasy and be transported to a world with a devil may care attitude. “If these walls could talk,” and from a screen on stage Jimmy Durante appeared with his gruff voice “It was the night before Christmas,” then at the piano his famous conundrum, “Do you want to go and you had the feeling you wanted to stay!” We saw more movie stars Cary Grant, Edward G. Robinson, Cagney, Hepburn, Bogart and laughed as Mickey interacted with funny inserted voice overs ending with “What do you think Hoggie?”

With Christmas trees on both sides of the 600-square-foot stage Walt Szymanski conducted a full orchestra with strings featuring classic Holiday songs.

Highlights abounded from the first floor show number “Winter Wonderland” and DeWitt Fleming tap dancing to “Jingle Bells.” On Lionel Hampton’s “Gin for Christmas” Walt S. blasted a trumpet opening as three pair of swing dancers, gals in red skirts and guys in black high-draped pants, swung to Dennis Mackrel’s strong backbeat. The featured singer, a Frank Sinatra stylist, on “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” included the clarinet of Dan Block pointed up to the balcony blowing an inspired high register solo. One of the most exciting and hip numbers was “Don’t Sit Under the (Christmas) Tree With Anyone Else But Me” with the Singin’ Sleigh Belles trio of Kristi Coombs, Timatha Kasten and Jennifer Johns. Renato Thoms on duel timbales drum heads, played with drum sticks, an exciting Latin version of “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” The theatrical show ended with the all time holiday favorite “White Christmas” followed by the finale with every performer onstage.

At 10:30 everyone was out on the dance floor swingin’ away to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," “Song of India,” Veronica Martell singing “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and Benny Goodman’s “Let’s Dance” till 1:30am.

It’s a one time must see Holiday show across the street from the famous Barrymore Theatre and next door to “Grease” at the Brooks Atkins Theatre. Come at 7:00pm for Dinner, watch a magnificent theatrical stage and dance show at 9:00pm or dance to the George Gee Orchestra plus enjoy an open bar from 10:00pm to 1:30am. Through Saturday, January 3, 2009 (except Christmas Eve) and “Swing In The New Year" at Times Square’s most elegant Edison Ballroom.

Dan Kassell
Member, Jazz Journalist Association


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