Another Night Before Christmas

by Michael Martin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday December 8, 2009

Irene Adjan and Ken Clement star in Another Night Before Christmas, playing through Dec. 27 at Actors’ Playhouse
Irene Adjan and Ken Clement star in Another Night Before Christmas, playing through Dec. 27 at Actors’ Playhouse  (Source:Actors’ Playhouse)

To compliment the holiday season, Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables has just opened a new musical entitled, Another Night Before Christmas, playing in the more intimate upstairs black box venue.

The two character show by Sean Grennan and Leah Okimoto focuses on the life of social worker Karol Elliot (Irene Adjan), who on her way home from the office Christmas party on Christmas Eve, offers some of the left over food to a homeless man (Ken Clement, noted in the program as "The Guy") she encounters on the street near her residence.

Later in the evening, The Guy breaks into Karol's apartment, claims to be Santa Claus, and embarks on a mission to infuse the true spirit of Christmas back into Karol, who at first appears a bit dour, independent, and perhaps a little lonely.

Along the same line as the celebrated film Miracle on 34th Street, the show's theme beckons for suspense of belief and realism. Once noted, the script reads more like a play with music, than that of a full fledged musical.

In fact, Grennan's book so succinctly relays the story, that the music by Okimoto often appears superfluous, and fails to add any particularly meaningful flavor.

Multi-Carbonell Award winner Adjan and multi-Carbonell Award nominee Clement both contain powerfully strong singing voices. More importantly, both cast members are equally strong actors, allowing them to expertly relate Grennan's written word to the audience.

With the possible exception of "New Moon," a duet in Act Two in which the suaveness of the music allows the actors to feature beautiful sentiment through voice, the rest of the evening's non-memorable melodies almost intrude on the progress of the storytelling.

Though musical director David Nagy capably accompanies with piano, the lone instrument sounds thin and begs for instrumental companionship.

Still, Carbonell Award winning director David Arisco utilizes a magnificent set and light design by Gene Seyffer and Patrick Tennent, respectively, to offer a holiday tale that is sure to brighten the spirits of anyone willing to push the boundaries of belief.

Another Night Before Christmas continues through December 27th at Actors’ Playhouse, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. For more information, visit

Michael Martin has been an active member of Actors' Equity for over 20 years. As a professional actor, he has toured many parts of the US and the world. Originally from St. Louis, he now resides in Miami.