‘Striking 12’ proves a must-see show

I came to the technical rehearsal of “Striking 12” last Tuesday expecting to see the usual: decent music, decent singing and decent dialogue — only to find out that this show is unlike any musical. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The cast made me laugh hysterically and cry solemnly. The story truly touched my heart.

As an artist, one of my favorite lines from the play was, “screwed up people make great art.” It’s one of multiple songs featured in “Striking 12.”

I don’t usually enjoy musical performances, but this blew my mind.

It is an unusual Christmas show, but so worth the hour and 15 minutes or so spent watching it.

The plot focuses on the life of a man who’s had enough of holidays, parties and celebrations. He simply wants to be left alone on New Year’s Eve, as the clock is about to strike 12.

Yet, when a seasonal affective disorder – SAD – light seller knocks on his door, he learns from her and Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, “The Little Match Girl,” that there is more to the holidays than simply getting drunk and having a good time.

Featuring the powerful performance of Zak Westfall, the lovely voice of Cassie Bielecki, the sweet, kind charisma of Brianna Woods and multiple other talented thespians, “Striking 12” is one of the warmest and most brilliant musicals I’ve ever seen.

Directed by the Rev. Shawn Clerkin, the story presents a very Christian theme that will hopefully change your outlook on the holidays.

Musicians Conor Grey on the violin, Leah Johnson on the cello, Luis Pontillo on the guitar, Jim Kip on the bass and Clerkin on the piano enhance the show and voices of the chorus.

“With a contemporary pop/rock/jazz score created by GrooveLily, this alternative holiday entertainment will move and challenge us to see that the world can ‘look like new…on the first day of the year,’” Clerkin said.

The lyrics are filled with wit and humor to the extreme, performed by post-nasal drip guys, space-invading girls and Danish grandmothers.

To top it off, actual snow falls as the choir sings and as it’s coming down; all your blues will definitely disappear. As one character points out, “There are no small roles…only small actors!” Well, in this production, there are no small actors. Each plays a critical role in making this a hit and I believe they’ve succeeded. Actors, I salute you.

Only three performances left at the Schuster Theatre, all must come to experience a truly magical night.

Shows are at 8 p.m. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Bring your friends, family, significant others and experience the holidays in a way you’ve never felt. I recommend that everyone who can, go to the theater and see it in person.

Words can’t describe how I felt and what I saw. We all need some light once in a while and “Striking 12” is full of it. It will definitely brighten your day and make your heart smile.

 

ROMAN DENISYUK

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