Dec 5, 2015 -
at Gateway Playhouse


Steve Parks

From "The Nutcracker" to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," most holiday season entertainments for children have been around for generations. But a new "moosical" for little ones attempts to establish itself as a 21st century classic with a storybook production at the Gateway Playhouse.

"Mooseltoe" producer Jim Semmelman, who wrote the book and lyrics, has created an interspecies sequel to the Rudolph-to-the-rescue fairytale. An adolescent moose - Scott Lilly in a Bullwinkle-inspired suit by Broadway designer, Randy Carafagno, accented with size 98-triple-Z tennis shoes - has no intention of growing up to forage in the woods. He dreams of learning to fly like a North Pole reindeer. The only job that fits his ambition is hauling Santa's toy-dispensing sleigh. Great work if you can get it - one night a year, 364 days off.

Mooseltoe's dad will hear none of it and sends his son to his room. But Mom encourages him to follow his dreams by consulting the Moose King about his flying obsession. Along the way, Mooseltoe encounters a trio of snobby penguins, rescues a drowning walrus, gets jeered by a Snow Couple and bullied by a tough Snow Ball.

Mooseltoe's break comes when Santa's reindeer Blitzen breaks a leg, not in a theatrical way, and is unable to go on Christmas Eve. Will Mooseltoe realize his dreams? When moose learn to fly.

While the lyrics and melodies are engaging, this charming new fable illustrated by a pop-up book set by Gateway's Kelly Tighe, is adorable. His set will follow "Mooseltoe" on the road to Queens and beyond. With a recorded score by George Kramer, narration by Al Roker and character voices by John Cullum, Christopher Plummer and Carole Shelley, amongst many other Broadway celebrities, "Mooseltoe" is the perfect vehicle for grandparents to introduce toddlers to a new Christmas tradition.