'Holiday in the Hills' gets toes tappin'

By: Review Don Chaddock Telegraph Managing Editor
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Fictional Folsom Telegraph editor Peter J. Hopper (Mike Jimena) promises to bring audiences back to a simpler time to celebrate the holidays as he opens “Holidays in the Hills.” There was a real Hopper, back in the 1880s, according to Jimena, but this Hopper is only loosely based on the historical figure and acts as one of two narrators for the Sutter Street Theatre production. I managed to catch their Saturday show along with my two middle kids (Parker, 11, and Cian, 12) in the packed theater. While they claim to celebrate the season in an 1880s fashion, songs about plastic trees and cars aren’t necessarily of a historic nature. But, in the spirit of having fun, it doesn’t detract from the overall play. Sutter Street Theatre regulars Brady Tait and Chris Celestin are a delight to watch, as usual. Tait was a pirate in the theater’s recent production of “Treasure Island” and The Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland.” Celestin was the queen in “Alice,” as well. Celestin is at his best when given room to roam, as he did with his performance of “We will flock you,” a parody of the Queen song titled “We will rock you.” Sadly, that was about the only time Celestin was able to really showcase his talent. Otherwise, the production is top-notch and the songs are real toe tappers. My daughter’s critique? “It was awesome,” Parker said. “I can’t pick a favorite part because the whole play was my favorite.” My son Cian enjoyed the audience participation portion. “I liked it when we all got up to dance,” he said. Other standouts include Cassidy Cagney as Ada Menken, Bob Sedgwick as George T. Bromley, (who was first conductor of the Sacramento Valley Railroad, according to Jimena) and Susan Teeple as Kate Foster. This is the last few days to see “Holidays in the Hills” as the show wraps production Thursday. According to Jimena, the shows have been near sell-outs and for those who’ve seen the show in previous years, never fear. The characters may be the same, but the songs are new, according to the website. My personal favorite was “Do you hear what I hear?” It was touching and well done. * * * IN THE KNOW What: “Holiday in the Hills” When: 7 p.m. daily through Dec. 23 Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom Cost: $23 general, $21 seniors and SARTA, $18 students, $15 children Information: (916) 353-1001, Rating: 3.5 (out of 5 stars) CAST Savannah Berry Nicole Beigh Cassidy Cagney Chris Celestin Jackie Clausen Gabrielle Collins Colin Coate Hannah Gardner Sage Innerarity Mike Jimena Hazel Johnson Connie Mockenhaupt Joanna Rehwaol Arjana Sanfilippo Bob Sedgwick Brady Tait Susan Teeple Claire Williams