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This year's XMAS! performance put a heartwarming twist on the idea of a traditional Christmas musical.

’Tis the season to be jolly, and ‘Tis the Treason,’ this year’s performance of the annual holiday musical XMAS!, was exactly that: frivolous, festive, and more than welcome in the week before finals. Starring a judge with a nutty sex drive, a Valley girl intern, and a Santa Claus who only wants to be a Jew, the performance filled the audience with Christmas spirit.

The student-written musical, directed by Xander Browne, CC ’19, orchestrated by Simon Broucke, CC ’19, and composed by Bronwen Chan, CC ’18, threw the traditional nativity musical out the window during their performance on Dec. 11 in Roone Arledge Auditorium.

The plot concerned the trial of Santa Claus, played by Jacob Kaplan, CC ’20, after his company decided to send a Christmas card with “Happy Holidays”—a message far too secular for some characters—written on the front. Centred around the cast’s humorous attempts to discover who was to blame for this mishap, the musical was electric and comical from start to finish. Talmage Wise, CC ’18, was charismatic and charming as a judge with a quirky obsession with nuts, rattling off puns from “Peanutcolada” to “Mis-eltoe-rial” (Mistrial) while promising to subject perjurers to a full “nutcracking,” mallet in hand.

Making sure to keep the plot humorous throughout the performance, Ms. Claus, played by Emma Smith, BC ’19, and prosecutor Terry Rudolph, played by Rachel Greenfeld, BC ’19, came together under a common—if comically frantic and passionate—love for third-wave feminism. They were joined by the adolescent intern Snowflake, played by Ilana Woldenberg, BC ’20. Woldenberg hilariously adopted a stereotypical Blair Waldorf-like personality, filled with “JK”s, “Lit-erall-E”s and hair flicks, matching attitude with comedic flair.

The orchestra performed the show’s score with ease and beautiful dynamics. One of the melodies from the score was even pulled directly from “Un Az Der Rebbe Zingt,” a Jewish holiday classic, adding a uniquely traditional element to an otherwise unorthodox Christmas story.

XMAS! 12, a holiday classic for Columbia in its own right, delivered a witty, light-hearted musical just before a stressful finals season. The audience was left with the declaration that students can all celebrate the holidays however they see fit: a message to everyone at Columbia to make this Christmas their own—and make it a funny one at that. | @ColumbiaSpec