‘Oy To The World! Christmas With A Twist!’ new Christmas musical, you’ll love it a latke!

 White Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Sleigh Ride, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song are just a few of the songs that are the soundtrack of our most treasured Christmas celebrations.

  Each iconic tune captures the spirit of the Yuletide season. And all, plus many many more, were written by Jewish songwriters.

  There’s a rich history of Jewish composers and lyricists, from Irving Berlin to Mel Tormé. A lengthy list of Jewish immigrants became the denizens of Tin Pan Alley, who honed their musical skills in NYC, and went on to create hit songs that became our beloved holiday anthems.

  Now an extraordinary musical Oy To The World! Christmas With A Twist! showcases the brilliant composers who basically created the modern day Christmas celebration that everyone enjoys.

  Directed by Maurice Godin, written by Gregory Thirloway and Maurice Godin, with musical direction and arrangements by Gerald Sternbach, choreographed by the renown Jeffrey Polk, Oy To The World! puts a new twist on Christmas classics with unexpected stories about the songwriters.

Kelley Dorney

Tonoccus McClain

Yamuna Meleth

Jay Brian Winnick

  The background of the show’s creative team is as impressive as the musical giants they are celebrating. And the cast is stellar: Kelly Dorney, Tonoccus McClain, Yamuna Meleth, Jay Brian Winnick, and featuring Gerald Sternback as ‘Chris.’

  One of Los Angeles’ foremost musical directors, with honors from LA Drama Critics Circle, an Ovation and two Garland Awards, Sternbach said, “There is a joy I have felt in creating new pieces every since I was a kid doing equity waiver theater. I love the collaboration process on this funny original show. It is filled with great music and fascinating stories about the composers, and the origins of their songs will be a surprise to many.”

  The premise of the joyous musical has a young man, Shelly, who has inherited his grandparents’ Catskills lodge. Co-writer Thirloway, a noted Broadway/film/TV actor best known for the hit series Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, Big and Hairy, and two classic X-Files episodes, explained, “The young man has fond childhood memories of holiday celebrations at the lodge which mixed Hanukkah with other traditions. So he gathers some wonderful singers who provide a mix of cultures to rekindle the spirit of the place with a show called Christmas With A Twist. It’s a walk down memory lane, with great corny Catskills jokes and all the wonderful holiday music we love.”

  Writer/director Godin, who has an acclaimed musical theater background, added, “Each character has a personal story about Christmas that we bring out. All from different backgrounds: a lovely soprano who has Christian traditions that seem to come from a Hallmark movie; a Jewish man with two dads; a Black man with Jewish and Catholic parents; a character with parents who are a Hindu from India and a Muslim from Pakistan. So different and yet the Christmas songs hold deep meaning to them all and help tell the story of each of our characters and their holiday memories.”

  Thirloway said, “Also there’s a character Chris, who can be described as an entity for whom time has stood still. Chris inhabits the Catskills Lodge and is really the hero of the show as our piano player, accompanist, arranger. He makes things happen with his knack for holiday magic.”

  Ending in a sing-a-long and bringing joy to the world, Oy To The World! Christmas With A Twist will have 10 timeless holiday performances from December 14 to 23, 2023. In the Monroe Forum at the historic El Portal Theatre, located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, California, in the NoHo Arts District.

  For tickets call 818-508-4200 or go to ElPortalTheatre.com.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.