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Monday, December 26, 2011

Mrs. Santa Claus (1996)

Feeling neglected, Mrs. Santa Claus (Angela Lansbury) decides to take the reindeer for a ride but has a breakdown over 1910 New York City in which Cupid the reindeer is injured. Waiting for Cupid to recuperate, she has an opportunity to interact with the working class citizens of Avenue A and plays matchmaker between a Jewish immigrant and an Italian immigrant and starts a worker's strike at a children's sweat shop. The Disneyesque musical seems a cross between NEWSIES and OLIVER! at times. The forgettable disposable score by Jerry Herman (MAME) feels like rejects he pulled out of his trunk. There is one catchy and lively musical number Avenue A choreographed by Rob Marshall (who would later go on to direct the film versions of CHICAGO and NINE). The acting is uncomfortably broad (in particular Terrence Mann's cartoonish villain) as if the director (Terry Hughes) thought we or most probably the child audience wouldn't respond to subtlety. With Charles Durning as Santa Claus, Rosalind Harris (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) and Michael Jeter.

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