A sold-out audience is waiting for Two-Step Productions’ live performance of Carol of the King, The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular to begin at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ, this Saturday, December 23, 2017.
The presentation has been created and produced by the founder of Two-Step Productions — a former lead dancer from Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance — Justin Boros.
Boros is known to many in the sold-out crowd for his other Two-Step production, Rhythm in the Night, The Irish Dance Spectacular. The fastest-growing touring Irish dance show in the United States, Rhythm in the Night has toured every Spring since 2014 and has set attendance records across the country.
Featuring 20 skilled Irish dancers and musicians, Boros’ new show — Carol of the King — brings an inspiring Christmas story to life while transporting its audiences back to a magical place in time.
Inside the warm and cozy Grunin Center auditorium, the curtain opens to reveal that winter has fallen across an ancient landscape where King Solomon (Justin Boros) and his kingdom are in the midst of preparing for their traditional Christmas season celebration.
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The dark sorceress Circe (Jessie Driscoll) and her ghostly legion known as The Frost, however, have made their way into Solomon’s castle where Circe uses her magical powers to trap King Solomon under her spell.
Stealing King Solomon’s crown, Circe attempts to curruptly rule the land.
While under Circe’s wicked spell, King Solomon inadvertently becomes the leader of The Frost in an effort to carry out Circe’s plan to eradicate the Christmas spirit from the land.
Although unrest and dismay encroach upon the peaceful kingdom, a glimmer of the holiday still peeks through the dark clouds.
With the King’s rule and the Christmas season in disarray, the people of the land call upon Solomon’s queen, Brighid (Tehya Baxter), in their hour of need. Forever Solomon’s faithful love, the daring Brighid determines to rescue Solomon and restore the spirit of Christmas to the kingdom.
The people are further inspired when they learn that Brighid will be helped by the King’s younger brother, Aidan, who will lead the King’s army — The Guardians — in a valiant rescue attempt.
As the heroes plan their strategy, the corrupted King Solomon takes command of his newfound legion of The Frost.
Solomon prepares The Frost to take the kingdom by storm and extinguish Christmas forever.
Brighid — along with Aidan (Sergey Nazarov) and The Guardians — arrive in their attempt to rescue King Solomon.
Although their attempt to rescue their rightful king is thwarted, Brighid, Aidan, and The Guardians are successful in bringing back the spirit of Christmas to the land where they celebrate the joy of the holiday season.
Meanwhile, the embattled King Solomon remains confused under the spell that has grasped his mind.
No matter how hard he tries to remember his former self, he still finds himself under the bewitching spell of Circe.
Brighid makes one last attempt to return King Solomon to his true self, but is summarily captured by agents of The Frost.
The Frost soldiers bring Brighid before Circe to face her fate.
Circe makes it clear that she wants to banish Brighid forever.
Brighid’s moment of desperation remains the final hope for King Solomon’s redemption.
Solomon’s brother, Aidan, arrives in the nick of time and he and Solomon clash in a monumental battle over Circe’s evil reign.
Aidan defeats Circe, after which King Solomon and Queen Brighid are reunited with all of the purity and love they had before Circe and The Frost invaded their kingdom.
The people rejoice in the triumphant victory of Brighid, Aidan, and the Guardians. Assembling from all across the land, the citizens celebrate the defeat of Circe, the arrival of peace in the kingdom, and the joyous spirit of the Christmas season.
Following a standing ovation for tonight’s performance of Carol of the King, we chat with several members of the cast who have made their way out into the Grunin Center lobby to meet and greet audience members who attended the production.
First, we chat with Tehya Baxter who plays the role of Brighid. Originally from San Diego, Baxter reveals that she now lives in New York.
States Baxter, “Performing as Brighid in Carol of the King has been a wonderful experience for me. It’s made me feel as though I’ve come full circle as a dancer — and I’ve been dancing since I was a little girl.”
Adding, “This is the first time we’ve toured with a Christmas show,” Baxter further discloses, “Since I’m one of just two dance captains for the production, it’s also been wonderful having a voice in helping to shape the production.”
Next, we chat with Jessie Driscoll who performed the role of Circe.
“I play the bad girl!” exclaims Driscoll.
Revealing, “This has been a wonderful tour,” Driscoll relates, “I was with the group on their original tour of Rhythm in the Night: The Irish Dance Spectacular several years ago, and it’s wonderful to be back in this Christmas show.”
“This is a great group of people to work with,” concludes Driscoll before additionally adding, “and I especially loved playing the evil character.”
Next, we chat with Sergey Nazarov, who plays Aidan, the King’s brother.
Originally from Moscow, Nazarov remarks, “I’ve enjoyed doing every performance of this show.”
Noting, “I’ve done every production with Two Step Productions’ founder Justin Boros since 2014, but the Christmas show is a little different,” Nazarov adds, “I will be creating my own show this year with hopes of bringing it to New Jersey this July.”
Finally, we talk to Carol of the King creator and star, Justin Boros, who plays the role of King Solomon.
“This was our last show of the season — and it sold out!” exclaims Boros, adding, “We love bringing our shows to New Jersey’s Grunin Center. The support here is incredible and we hope to be back again next year.”
We also chat with several audience members who share their experiences regarding Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular.
Terry and Rob traveled to the Jersey Shore from Nazareth, PA for tonight’s performance. While Terry comments, “I loved this show,” Rob calls it “very good,” both suggesting the show helped put them in the Christmas spirit.
We also chat with Ruth from Mantoloking who discloses, “I liked how they used the Irish dance to narrate a story. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
Likewise, Ed from Teterboro reveals, “It was great how they used the movement to bring the story to life,” before adding, “and the music was great, too.”
Next, we chat with a youngster in the lobby who happens to be performing Irish dance steps with several members of the cast!
Regarding her engagement in this unique activity, Delaney, 14, from Manasquan, explains, “I was talking to several members of the cast and when they saw I was wearing a dance jacket, they asked me to Irish dance with them right here in the lobby,” before commenting, “It was fun!”
Delaney, who studies at the Devrin Academy of Irish Dance in Brielle, tells us she enjoys doing shows with her dance troupe, and suggests that perhaps, someday, she would like to be a professional dancer.
Lastly, we chat with Bill, a grandfather from Basking Ridge, and his family. Bill brought his grandkids, Kayla, Gweneth, and Michael, to see their cousin, Anya Daneluk, perform as an Irish dancer in tonight’s production of Carol of the King.
States Anya, who currently lives in Colorado, “I loved every minute of this tour, especially tonight, since my family members — and my best friend, too — are here!”
Declares Grandpa Bill about the production, “It was a great show,” adding, “and Anya was the best!”
Bill’s granddaughter Kayla comments, “I loved this show — it had really good dancing and acting,” while his other granddaughter Gweneth remarks, “I enjoyed the entire show. It was really nice.”
Lastly, Bill’s grandson Michael concludes by stating, “I liked it so much, I even bought the sweatshirt!”
Lovers of Irish dance — not to mention fans of Christmas stories brought to life with exciting music, staging, and lighting — need look no further than Two Step Productions’ presentation of Carol of the King, The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular for great holiday entertainment.
To find out more about Two Step Productions’ presentation of Rhythm in the Night: The Irish Dance Spectacular, please go to rhythminthenight.com. For information on future performances at Toms River’s Grunin Center of the Arts — including Rickie Lee Jones on March 22, 2018 and Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Peter Yarrow on May 11, 2018 — please go to grunincenter.org.Photos by Love Imagery
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