Review: Twist of the Magi - keeping the holiday charm and spirit alive

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Twist of the Magi
By Debra Rich Gettleman
Directed by Keith Dahlgren
Musical Direction by Michael Corry
The Phoenix Theatre
December 1 - 23, 2017


Review by Doug Gochanour

The Phoenix Theatre is turning 10 years old as a professional theatre. The mission of the Theatre Company is to actively produce dynamic, top quality entertainment emphasizing humor to illuminate our common humanity, and to develop a fundamental appreciation for the magic of live theater. They call it “Comedy without all the Drama.”

Twist of the Magi fits this description perfectly. Debra Rich Gettleman has given us another holiday treat with this delightful play. She asked me before the play opened if I was ever nervous about my writings in play reviews. She seemed a bit nervous, and I assured her that neither of us had anything to be of concern.



The setting is 1946, Winter Holiday Season in a live radio broadcast studio KTPT. There is a bevy of fascinating actors attempting to perform O’Henry’s well known short story, Gift of the Magi. Melanie Calderwood plays a frantic, stuttering sound effects technician, always finding perfect comedic timing. In fact, it is a very talented Phoenix Cast, portraying a variety of eccentric radio actors, who display the frustrations of their personal interactions behind the scenes of their live studio’s O’Henry broadcast. It’s a laugh riot.

There are even commercials and musical interludes beautifully performed by Darian Conn, Sophia Parker, and Mia Perritt. They sing together as the trio called Twisted Sister, and they Rock. Their work blends right in with that of the remarkable veteran cast, which includes: Alssa Cattabriga, James Lynch, Nicola Amos, Sarah McGrath, Denise Wichsier, Scott Hibbert, Steve Heiret, Susan Connors and Melanie Calderwood.

The Phoenix Theatre was remodeled in 2015


There is a story within a story here. The personal interactions taking place among the studio performers is its own tale. O’Henry’s story is the second tale, and it has become a classic. But what will the outcome be this time around? Don’t miss the fun!

Debra Rich Gettleman took over as managing director of the Phoenix Theater a little over a year ago after moving from Arizona. She seems to love our community and the live theatre it offers. She has a background is in journalism, along with theater, and show business. She is an actress, a playwright, a director, and has shown a willingness to do whatever is needed. Debra is successful in doing what she intended, keeping the holiday charm and spirit alive.

The Phoenix Theatre is located in Firdale Village at 9673 Firdale Avenue, Edmonds 98020




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