Santa Songs 2015
Santa Songs: A Christmas Cabaret was presented last Dec. 6, 2015 (St. Nicholas Day) at PianoForte in Chicago. In previous years it played a various locations around Chicagoland and in Michiana.
The show celebrates the ancient heritage of that embodiment of holiday spirit we know variously as Santa, Father Christmas and Kris Kringle beginning with an original composition, Mummer’s Bells by Paul L. Johnson and leading into a traditional Ballad of St. Nicholas. In a mixture of German and English Christmas traditions we then have the tour de force singing of Night Before Christmas Jig (with music also by Mr. Johnson).
We visit an imaginary Toyland ruled by Santa where Wooden Soldiers Parade. Then we reflect on how soothing keeping a traditional Christmas can be in the face of commercialism with a medley of Tom Lehrer’s Christmas Carol, Silver and Gold and Oh, Christmas Tree. After touching on the story of Kris Kringle and “Miracle on 34th Street” we hear how Kris Kringle likes to celebrate a traditional holiday while Waiting for Christmas Day with Pine Cones and Holly Berries.
The first half of the program ends with a collection of Victorian Christmas wishes from Mr. Pickwick in That’s What I’d Like for Christmas.
We consider Santa’s mailbag when we return to the subject of Christmas wishes with Dear Ole Santy Claus an original parody about kid’s letters which leads into audience-favorite Grown-up Christmas List.
The stories of little Susan Walker (Miracle on 34th St.) and Virginia O’Hanlan (Yes, Virginia) bookend the songs Expect Things to Happen and Up on the Rooftop. Then after confessing his real feelings about Santa Daniel cuts loose with a show-stopping Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.
The evening climaxes with three songs about bringing the season in with a parade: the rousing march Here’s Love, the affecting ballad Yes, Virginia (There’s a Santa Claus) and Gene Autry’s Here Comes Santa Claus.
After Santa has passed ritually through Herold Square, we challenge the revelers to join in and Be a Santa and the evening concludes with everyone full of good cheer and Christmas Joy.