TR Robertson …Returning to sunny Southern California from the cold of Wisconsin, just in time for the holiday season, is the beautiful harmony of Colleen Raye and daughters Jennifer Grimm and Sophie Grimm, along with band members, son Reed Grimm on drums, Colleen’s husband Dominic Tarullo on piano and Jennifer’s fiancé, Joe Cruz on bass. This talented trio will be performing at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach until December 24th, presenting popular holiday songs from the 50’s and 60’s as well as other memorable songs of the season.
Colleen Raye has been performing since she was 15 years old and currently has nine different shows she and her family perform throughout the year. The Hit Parade Holiday Show features the talented trio, singing songs from past performers like the Andrews Sisters, the Lennon Sisters, the McGuire Sisters, Patti Page, Brenda Lee, Judy Garland, Kay Starr, The Osmonds, Ray Charles, Eartha Kitt, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley and a wonderful medley from “Frozen”. The group also sings two Hanukkah songs, the funny “Hanukkah in Santa Monica” and “Dreidel Song” where Reed Grimm does a number of musical instrument impressions with an impressive didgeridoo impression. Colleen Ray sings “Blue Christmas”, a song Elvis Presley made famous, but Colleen sings it in a tribute to Patsy Cline. One of the group’s shows is A Musical Tribute to Patsy Cline. Throughout the show the musical range of each girl was shown both in solo numbers and together as a group.
The girls sing a number of popular, traditional holiday songs, such as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “Sleigh Ride”, “Silver Bells”, “White Christmas” and more. They also sing holiday songs not as well-known from the 50’s and 60’s. Raye explained that “Christmas Alphabet” was on a 45 rpm record, recorded by the McGuire Sisters, a singing group that never recorded a Christmas album. “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus”, by Patti Page, never received a great deal of play time, but the song on the other side of the 45 rpm record did, “Tennessee Waltz”. The group pointed out that many of the popular T.V. shows of the 50’s and 60’s, were the musical variety shows, like The Perry Como Show, the Andy Williams Show, the Lawrence Welk Show, the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. Lots of the popular Christmas songs were written during this time period. One of the most popular came from a movie, “Meet me in St. Louis”, with Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. Several times in the show the trio sang beautifully together acapella, style, as in the opening for the” Caroling Medley” and in their encore number, “Let There be Peace on Earth”.
An audience favorite was Colleen Raye singing two songs from Disney’s “Frozen”, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Let It Go”. In the first number Ms. Raye portrayed sister Ana, from the movie, at ages 5, 9 and 15 and then Elsa for the final number. Audience members were encouraged to sing along at any time and were used as participants on stage several times. A funny parody of “12 Daze of Christmas”, used audience members wearing reindeer horns and each person given slips telling them their parts, such as “A partridge with bad knees” and “2 stinking lutefisk”. One audience member was brought on stage to be the recipient of the soulful, “Santa Baby”, originally sung by Eartha Kitt. This singing group is from Wisconsin and in Act II they included the bouncy “Merry Xmas Polka” to show their musical roots.
This is an entertaining, nostalgic, spirited show and one that will put you in the holiday spirit. Tickets are available at 858-481-1055 or go to www.NorthCoastRep.org. North Coast Rep is located at 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. Also coming up in December is a staged Reading, “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues”, advertised as something different for Christmas. Beginning January 11, Marjorie Prime” by Jordan Harrison, will be staged.