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Theatre Review (LA): Frosty the Snow Manilow by Matt Walker at the Falcon Theatre

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It wouldn’t be Christmas without a production of a mangled holiday story set to music presented by The Troubadour Theatre Company in residence at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. The Troubadour Theatre Company is the baby of the brilliant Matt Walker, a trained actor, singer, dancer, clown, and acrobat. In this production he guides his zany followers through another fracturing of a classic Christmas story (as seen on television): Frosty The Snowman.

Appropriately Walker has chosen to use the music of Barry Manilow to tell this epic tale of a solitary snowman’s search for identity, home, and companionship. Much to his credit, Walker has only borrowed the songs (with new lyrics), and doesn’t trash the source much, to the delight of the aging audience.  Walker calls his creation Frosty the Snow Manilow.

Walker gives himself a nice role: a trouble-causing magician trying to prevent the story from taking place. But he almost never hogs the spotlight for himself (though there have been exceptions in his shows). Many of his regulars are here: the totally mad improviser Rick Batalla; the delightful comedienne and singer Lisa Valenzuela; and the Voght Twins, Paul and Peter.

Each of these identical brothers has his own career, but what a pleasure to see them together. Paul, who played Edna on Broadway in the smash hit Hairspray, gives us his Frosty. Peter, who has made his name in television and improv, plays Crystal, Frosty’s “snow girl” friend. They are a riot together and their years of familiarity only add to the comedy.

Walker has added a section of acrobatics at the end to showcase the troupe's gymnastic ability. One thing I noticed is that their individual talents only get stronger for it; they are better singers, actors, and dancers. The choreography by Nadine Ellis and Ameenah Kaplan is excellent.

Frosty the Snow Manilow plays at the Falcon Theatre through Jan. 17th.

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