Since 1995, Brad and Jenny Moranz have missed only one year of performing a Christmas show here in Charleston.
Now, they're as much a part of the yuletide scenery here as the lights at Marion Square. The first show this season started last night at the Charleston Music Hall. More than 10,000 will laugh, hum-a-long and tap their toes during one of the 13 shows that run until Dec. 22.
For showtimes and more information, go to <a href="http://www.bradandjennifermoranz.com/schedule.html">bradandjennifermoranz.com</a>.
Most of this you probably already know. But I'm here to tell you some things you might not necessarily be aware of as it pertains to the Lowcountry's First Couple of song and dance.
They started dating in 1986 when appearing in a Broadway production of "Singin' in the Rain." They married in 1988.
Brad, 61, can sing, dance, play piano, the drums and was raised in Texas. He is a ventriloquist and does a saucy impression of Julia Child.
Jenny, 56, took her North Carolina sensibilities to New York where she danced for The Rockettes. Her dancing abilities often take a backseat these days to her comedic side, but she claims it's not in her comfort zone. Brad says his wife is too modest to admit how funny she is. Audiences laugh most when she forgets where she's going and he tries to keep the train on the tracks.
What they both share is a hope that there will always be a place for live music, singing and dancing.
No business like show ...
Before every show, Brad and Jenny gather the cast to share a prayer. Their wish is that everyone in the audience will have their spirits lifted.
How that happens can arrive in a variety of ways. It might be when little girl Jenny tries to climb onto the giant chair. Could be a show-stopping rendition of "O Holy Night" or tap-dancing penguins keeping time to "White Christmas"?
Brad starts choosing the songs for the Christmas show in July. "I write it, she re-writes it." This year's show features 40 songs. Both aspects of Christmas are unapologetically presented: the birth of Christ and the arrival of Santa Claus. It's a season of celebration and songs are chosen to reflect that sentiment.
Is the audience really different for every show? They both say absolutely. Some nights, crowd reaction is immediate, other nights it tends to build. An expected laugh line in one show might appear at an altogether different place on a different night.
The biggest laugh Jenny ever heard was during a Romeo and Juliet spoof when she unexpectedly looked at Brad and wondered, "What light shines on yonder forehead?"
No matter what high wire she may step out on, she knows Brad is the ultimate safety net and he'll make sure they both land on their feet.
For a few years after leaving New York, the couple operated a musical theater school in Wilmington, N.C. What they missed most was performing. Their decision to come to Charleston brought not only their talents but also their considerable professional approach to how things should look and sound.
The goal is to treat the audience like family. But they also try to remember that some folks might be attending for the first time.
Jenny will not dance this year. She is recovering from a hip replacement. She's still uncomfortable with this being revealed because the show is the story, not her. Brad says she'll still have a "healthy presence" in the production. As a matter of fact, he believes Jenny is so integral to the performance that he tries to have her appear somehow, some way every nine minutes or so, just to keep everybody engaged.
She'll not be thrilled that her surgery has gone public, but now that it's out there, don't be surprised if one or two ad-libs find their way into the dialogue.
We should all be happy the Moranz family includes all of us. The smiles, the music, the dancing, the laughter; it's how families are supposed to celebrate the holidays, right?
Reach Warren Peper at 937-5577 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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