Marilyn Maye surprises the audience at ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’

Steve Wilson |

Baby, Its Cold OutsideWith temperatures below freezing the Heartland Men’s Chorus Christmas program was aptly named Baby, It’s Cold Outside. The 28th season opened on Friday, December 6 at the Folly Theatre, in downtown Kansas City.

Dr. Joseph P. Nadeau made his last appearance with the chorus before he relocates to Los Angeles, California to become Artistic Director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Nadeau has spent 15 years with the Heartland Men’s Chorus and outlined the 2013-2014 season productions before knowing he was leaving for the west coast. In 2002 under his direction, the chorus performed in London, Paris, and Hamburg completing a European tour.

Wonderful music, humor, traditional and not-so traditional holiday songs filled the stage for Friday night’s program. Humorous songs such as Shades of Christmas, White Christmas, Blue Christmas, and the Heartaches rendition of Lavender Christmas, and Black Christmaswith solos by Elven Hickmon, Kelly Marzett, Gregg Maupins, Calvin Quattlebaum, Brian Spurlock, Michael L. Wagoner, and Aubrey D. Williams filled the theater with laughter.

Whimsical songs such as Sparklejollytwinklejingley (from the musical Elf), A Song of Santa, and Boogie Woogie Santa featuring the Heartaches filled the second act. The chorus dance team made up of John Edmonds, Dean R. Faulk, Eryk Larabee, Tim Miller, David Pasley, and Michael L. Wagoner danced and flirted around the stage in comical routines set to Tropical Holiday Jingle Bellsand The 12 Rockin’ Gays of Christmas.

The overall show was highly entertaining and well produced. The only slight glitz in an otherwise fantastic show was when Kelly Marzett, as Mrs. Claus, and who sang Tropical Holiday Jingle Bells in Act One, forgot some of the words to the song and referred to a small note book apparently containing the words.

Kansas City legend Marilyn Maye made an appearance just before the last song of the chorus began the last song. Not listed in the program she said she had to come out and thank Dr. Nadeau for the work and dedication he had shown to the chorus over the years. She sang a song that she had written about him before joining the Heartland Men’s Chorus in Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Board Chair Keith Wiedenkeller presented Dr. Nadeau with a special Heartland vest and baton for his service to the chorus.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a grand way to bring on the holiday season and continues through Sunday, December 8 at the Folly Theatre.