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Theater

Split Stage Productions musical revue sure to get you in the holiday spirit

| Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Zakk Mannella (from left),Victoria Buchtan, Brittany Tague, Meighan Lloyd Harding and Josh Reardon star in Split Stage Productions' 'That Time of the Year' Dec. 15-16 at The Lamp Theatre, Irwin.
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Zakk Mannella (from left),Victoria Buchtan, Brittany Tague, Meighan Lloyd Harding and Josh Reardon star in Split Stage Productions' 'That Time of the Year' Dec. 15-16 at The Lamp Theatre, Irwin.

Everybody has their favorite holiday tunes – from the sublime “Silver Bells” to the silly “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” No matter which songs of the season are on people's playlists, music has to be one of the best parts of “That Time of the Year.”

Split Stage Productions offers some new selections in a musical revue at the Lamp Theatre in Irwin featuring 25 all-original Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's songs in musical genres from show tunes to rock, blues and jazz.

Written by Laurence Holzman and Felicia Needleman with music by seven different composers, the show is described as a multi-cultural, multi-faith and multi-generational musical. “That Time of the Year” originally was presented as a cabaret show in New York City in December 1996. A decade later, it opened off-Broadway at the York Theatre Company in Manhattan.

The Split Stage production features cast members Victoria Buchtan, Meighan Lloyd Harding, Brittany Tague, Zakk Mannella and Josh Reardon performing 30 new songs focusing on the meaning behind the holidays and the joy and stress encountered by preparing for them.

“There is no ‘Last Christmas' or ‘Let it Snow' in this production,” says Mannella of Pittsburgh. “The show is entirely sung through, so learning all of that music in such a short amount of time was not only challenging, but a lot of fun. It's been a while since I've been in a show where I honestly didn't even know one song.”

He says the show is funny and “it covers a lot of ground” with new music for both Hanukkah and Christmas.

“The music, when not funny, is really beautiful and has moments that made all of us in rehearsal really proud to be in this show,” Mannella says. “The audience will definitely leave laughing, and despite them being all new songs, I guarantee they'll be humming at least one of them when they leave.”

Harding, a Seton Hill University alum who has been doing shows in Westmoreland County for more than 20 years, says the sheer volume of music is keeping the cast on their toes.

“With only five of us and some 30 original songs, we each have a lot of material to cover,” she says.

Matt Mylnarski of Lower Burrell directs “That Time of the Year,” Andrew DeBroeck serves as music director and Ashley Harmon is choreographer.

Mylnarski recommends this musical revue for anyone who still needs to get into the holiday spirit.

“They should make definitely make the trip to see this amazing cast perform this show. I cannot say enough great things about my talented cast and crew; it is an amazing group of people,” he says.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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