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The Playgoer: Polymath Players’ The Voice That Would Sleigh

     Sticking to a self-proclaimed mission of bringing great children’s theater to the Southern Anne Arundel County region, the Polymath Place ushers in the holiday spirit.

         This year’s production, The Voice That Would Sleigh, brings the saga of finding a replacement for an ailing Rudolph to the stage at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Owensville.

         Based on a script written and directed by teacher Aly Cross and produced by Polymath owner Kate King, the show features a cast of colorful characters performed by talented kids of all ages,  not counting the offstage voiceover talents of Brian Trott, age withheld. The youngest is four-year-old Delany Huebner; the oldest 12-year-old Caleb King.

         The show opens on the North Pole workshop with a crowd of pajama-clad elves anticipating Santa’s big night. Two dastardly — yet adorable — villains, Jack Frost (Kylee Trott) and The Stomach Bug (Bella Heller) plot Santa’s downfall by targeting his star reindeer, Rudolph (Madison Brantner). You’ve never seen cuter scoundrels than the blue-wigged Trott and the green-wigged Heller. They set Rudolph up for disaster, cursing him with a vile sickness that hits just as Brantner steals the spotlight during Run, Run Rudolph.

         The elves, under the direction of bossy yet sweet Merry the Elf (Bryn Cross), decide that a reality-TV inspired contest is the way to find a suitable Christmas character to lead Santa’s sleigh while Rudolph is confined to bed.

         After a brief intermission and set change, the cast returns as celebrity judges Blake Shelton (Caleb King), Kelly Clarkson (Caroline Wayson), Adam Levine (Killian Junkins) and Christina Aguilera (Sienna Miller).

         What follows is a battle of Christmas musical acts with surprising twists. Only at a Polymath show will you find a heavy metal Alvin & The Chipmunks (EJ Cross, Greyson Miller and Abby Puglia) facing off against Frosty the Snowman (Lilly Ryan) in a leather jacket. Second-grader Ryleigh Ball is the world’s cutest hippopotamus for Christmas as she faces off against bullies Scut Farkus and Grover Dill (Taylor Hall and Johnny Pilat). But even a tiny Mariah Carey (Madelyn Holmes) doesn’t stand a chance when Jack Frost and The Stomach Bug step up to the mike.

         The Polymath Players deliver a show that is charming and delightful.

         “What I love most about this process is to have the kids’ input on what we present to an audience,” says Cross. “Sure, I am the one who writes it down and throws a final script together, but the kids have helped inspire ideas and scenarios tremendously.”

         Scotty and Dominick Mona helped design and create the sets and props. In fact, every tiny actor or actress gets an educational intro to every aspect of the performing arts; no child is cut from participating. The Polymath Players are actively raising funds for a new larger theater space that they can call home and offer theater arts to more children in the area. Auditions for Peter Pan will be held next month.