Mrs. Santa Claus
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Much closer to Hello, Dolly! than your usual Christmas special, Mrs. Santa Claus joins two distinct genres: holiday family fare and the Broadway musical. This song-studded extravaganza was especially designed for TV by Broadway legend Jerry Herman, whose songs are just as incorrigibly catchy on the small screen as they are on the stage. Herman uses one of his favorite leading ladies from the theater, Angela Lansbury, in a tale of Santa's "invisible wife," who takes the reindeer off for an impulsive week-long adventure in New York City. Unexpectedly becoming a suffragette and labor organizer (it's set in the early 20th century), Mrs. Claus twinkles merrily at all who cross her path. This is a problem, dramatically speaking, because what's compelling about someone who twinkles all the time? The costumes are by Bob Mackie (duh), the choreography by Chicago director Rob Marshall. And just try to get the melodies out of your head. --Robert Horton
- "The Making of Mrs. Santa Claus
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This is a quality DVD of an extremely hard to find movie. It is about Mrs. Santa Claus (Angela Lansbury) crashing the sleigh in New York City, December 1910. It has a diverse cast of characters, catchy songs, and a way of performing and directing that makes it feel like you’re watching a live theatre performance.
I would recommend this to any Angela Lansbury fan or anyone looking for a new Christmas tradition for their family.
Why? Well, Angela Lansbury, for one. Perfectly cast, Lansbury is the extra grandmother you always wanted - and a triple threat: singer, dancer, and actress. The many musical numbers are beautifully done, with clever lyrics, insanely catchy melodies, and a huge amount of Christmas spirit.
While a made-for-TV movie, the production values are high. Some of the effects are obviously from the 90's, but other than that, you get a good sense that you are in early 1900's NYC, with all of the social movements and problems that entails. You'd be surprised what you can learn (in a not very nuanced way, but then again this is a Christmas movie for children) about the time period and how people came together to fight certain causes. However, this never distracts from the holiday cheer.
Buy this, but be warned....you'll then want to buy the soundtrack!
The story is not complicated and it is obvious that all the loose ends will be tied up happily by the end of the film. Anyone looking for a "meaningful" story line should remember this is a family Christmas confection. It was never meant to be anything but a fun, happy music filled show and it succeeds admirably on all counts. Even if Charles Durning (a wonderful actor) is not a good singer, the whole cast is great.
Jerry Herman provides his signature "can't get them out of your mind" songs. "Avenue A" makes you want to dance around the room with the performers.
Pop a bowl of popcorn, grab a soft drink, forget the "real" word and enter the fantasy land of Christmas and Mrs. Santa Claus. Unless you are really a Scrooge, you won't regret it.