The Gingerbreads of Broadway – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

What could be more symbolic and sweet as a confection for Christmas than a gingerbread man cookie, a gingerbread house or a loaf of tasty bread? The spicy ginger root dates back to the Chinese and Greek and has a long term association with medicinal treatments for stomach ailments as well as delicious treats with honey and molasses at holiday time.

Pantochino Productions has discovered a whole new concept for these delectable snacks. With original book and music by Bert Bernardi, new music by Justin Rugg and novel costuming by Jimmy Johansmeyer, on a clever Christmas set designed by Von Del Mar, “The Gingerbreads of Broadway” has been deliciously baked. Weekends until Sunday, December 22, this delightful musical will grace the stage of the Milford Arts Council, 40 Railroad Avenue, Milford, sponsored by Berchem Moses P.C.

Mr. Majestic (Zach Theis) is busy auditioning acts for his exciting extravaganza “Holidays a Poppin’, “ hoping to find the acts that will make it a smash hit. With his assistant (Amanda Sigan) and his piano player (Jaxon Beirne), he quickly dismisses a boy (Rowan Simonelli) and his mom (Hannah Duffy). His initial response to the Gingerbreads (Justin Rugg and Shelley Marsh Poggio) isn’t much more promising.

With the help of Carol (Maria Berte), better known as Mrs. Claus from the North Pole, and her guardian elf Buttons (Connor Rizzo), the Gingerbreads are advised to become a family for better show business appeal. Sure enough, by adding Darlene (Hazel Foley), Pepper (Sierra DiMartino) and Frostine (Peighton Nash) to their act, they are hired to headline.

With the big star Elizabeth Ambrosia Éclair (Valerie Solli) leading the musical parade, the show looks like a mega hit. The recipe for success is spoiled by the jealousy of Lina and Lamont Licorice (Mary Mannix and Jimmy Johansmeyer) who want top billing for themselves and aren’t above slipping a little poison into the star’s tea, served to her by her assistant (TJ Chila). Officer O’Flannahan (George Splevin) is called in to investigate.

Bert Bernardi directs the comic confusion like a four star gourmet chef.

For tickets ($22 online, $25 at the door), go online to www.pantochino.com. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Don’t forget to bring snacks to share at your table or plan to buy them at the concession stand downstairs. Adults are invited to come for “Christmas Cocktails” on Friday, December 13 and 20 for $30.

Buy or bake some gingerbread men cookies to eat and enjoy as this fun family musical “The Gingerbreads of Broadway” dances and sings its way into your heart.

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