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'Ring Out the Old, Sing in the New' celebrates holiday music

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Ring Out the Old, Sing in the New brings a collection of mostly known, well loved holiday themed songs to The Chestnut Fine Arts Center in Olathe, KS for a limited engagement through New Year’s.

Brad Zimmerman, producer, director, and musician scores another success with the current show that features his Chestnut “family.” Included in his holiday fare are his younger sister, Dalene White and her husband, Perry White. Also, in the quartet, Christine Brewer, a member of the Chestnut office staff and regular performer in Chestnut productions helps fill out the ensemble. And, of course, Zimmerman adds vocals and the keyboard mastery.

Ring Out the Old, Sing in the New comes on the heels of Zimmerman’s signature group, The Dickens Carolers, who perform throughout the metro area during the Christmas season. According to comments during the show, they know scores of many Christmas carols and can accommodate most requests when performing.

Opening night displayed a plethora of known songs, a few more obscure songs, and several snippets of cute dialog and skits. All fit and blend well to help bring smiles to the Chestnut’s audience of faithfuls. As always sellout and near sellout capacity confirms that The Chestnut knows and delivers the goods to maintain their audiences and continue to grow.

The show includes two acts of music, comedy, and good old-fashioned entertainment. Different from many Chestnut shows, Zimmerman steps out from the keyboard to feature his vocal talents more than in past shows. Most shows finds Zimmerman performing mostly light-hearted or comic musical pieces, but in Ring Out the Old, Sing in the New, the serious side of Zimmerman comes to the forefront when he performs “O Holy Night.” The clarity and strength of his voice put an indelible stamp on the opening Act.

Known melodies from Act 1 include: “It’s Christmas Time All Over the World,” “Merry Christmas Darling,” “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Set It Snow,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Santa Baby,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and, “O Holy Night.”

Act II continues the nonstop musical fare with such ditties as: “A Marshmallow World,” “That’s All,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” “The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Opening night certainly pleased the audience but subsequent performances will build on the momentum that began. Few rehearsals and opening jitters caused the performance to sputter a few times and miss the punch generally associated with Chestnut shows, but a tweak or two by Zimmerman will fix those small stumbles and by the second performance the event will resemble a well-oiled production. The show has room to grow as the performers settle in and know where the applause and laughs come.

And, even with a show in progress, rehearsals and talks begin on the next production, Always, Patsy Cline, that follows, beginning Jan 17. Zimmerman said the show, performed previously at the Chestnut is a crowd pleaser and he expects mega-turnout and brisk sales. Always, Patsy Cline runs Jan. 17-March 2.

For tickets and information on The Chestnut Fine Arts Center, visit the website: chestnutfinearts.com or call the box office to purchase tickets 913.764.2121. The Chestnut features family-oriented shows, mostly musicals, for all ages. Senior and group sales are available through the box office.

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