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Neil Berg adds holiday component to Broadway revue

of the Oakland Press

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Neil Berg freely acknowledges that his new Broadway Holiday revue is a “variation” of his popular “101 Years of Broadway” show that travels around the country.

But he’s confident that the seasonal show will both entertain and educate like its predecessor.

“It’s still five of the best Broadway stars recreating some of their best moments,” Berg, 46, explains, “but about 40 percent of the show in the second act delves into holiday songs, and we try to put a premium on holiday songs that come from Broadway shows that people may not even realize.

“The oddest one we do is ‘We Need a Little Christmas;’ that comes from ‘Mame.’ And ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,’ no one knows it came from Meredith Wilson, who wrote ‘The Music Man;’ his other musical, ‘Here’s Love,’ was basically a musical version of ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ It never made it into the American vernacular, but the song did.”

Berg — who plays piano and emcees the show — will also spin plenty of tales about the nonholiday material, but he says that he tries to keep his lessons lighthearted.

“The show’s not didactic or anything like that,” he says. “It’s entertainment. But when we narrate, it’s all fun anecdotes and true stories. It never feels like a lecture. And the cumulative effect is, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that.’

“It’s for Joe ordinary layman, not for the person who works in theater. It’s for my mother who wants to go and see musical theater and hear a few facts.”

Neil Berg’s Broadway Holiday plays at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $29.50, $22.50 and $17.50, with $99 and $79 four-packs. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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