Opening the spectacle, in a nave dressed to the nines with Christmas lights, is a hilarious, homegrown video clip of the congregation offering quips from every holiday movie ever made, from “It’s a Wonderful Life” to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Utterly charming.
The play itself opens with Santa-as-Mafia-boss, lamenting the fact that he will have to pay for Bob Cratchit’s health insurance. And that’s only the beginning.
The Baldwins first produced “Nativity!” four years ago at the church and have updated the piece every year to include topical humor that works splendidly. So, when Santa counts off his naughty vs. nice list, Jon and Kate (minus their eight) lead the way, with, oops, one more: Tiger Woods.
That doesn’t prevent the ubiquitous Gosselin brood from showing up, along with a cast of characters — 95 members strong — that includes the traditional Nativity principals like John, Mary and the angel Gabriel, plus the Grinch, Scrooge, Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow, Bugsy the wonder pony and, delightfully, inexplicably, Abraham Lincoln.
Though the transitions are sometimes a bit slow and a note here or there is off-key, who could resist a bevy of adorable little tinsel-draped cherubim running around, singing about Emmanuel?
The updated orchestrations of traditional Christmas carols like “O, Little Town of Bethlehem” totally work and, if they are not sung with mighty voices, they are sung with mighty hearts.