Some have next to nothing to do with Christmas at all: “Cheeseburger in Paradise” from the Varsity; “Too Many Fish in the Sea” at the Georgia Aquarium; “Hall of Fame” from the College Football Hall of Fame; “There’s Always Tomorrow” at the Center for Puppetry Arts, opposite Stan the Lovesick Snowman (when “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” with a cameo by that titular star of the Center’s own annual holiday show, would’ve made perfect sense).
Still, in isolated moments featuring heartfelt and soulful interpretations of a few more traditional yuletide carols, “A Very Terry Christmas” rings resoundingly true: “The Little Drummer Boy,” set to a tribal beat with a chorus of backup singers at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; “The Holly and the Ivy” at the Atlanta Botanical Garden; “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” at the Starfield; “God Bless the Child” at the First Congregational Church.
And when things culminate with Burrell and her band — the three musicians finally freed from their miniaturized confinement inside a snow globe (don’t ask) — assuming their rightful positions on the Alliance stage, where they were originally supposed to be in the first place, their rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is sublime, literally as well as virtually.
Late in the one-hour show, Burrell briefly laments these stressful times, our common struggles with COVID-19, racial reckoning and a contentious election, and the way “high-tech distractions” can often obscure “what really matters” and “how much beauty there is around us.”
For all of its similar distractions, if only Booth’s production had demonstrated more of a seasonal spirit by sharing its limelight with other equally talented local luminaries who’ve been largely out of sight lately. Sure, it’s nice to see Burrell again, but imagine her hosting something like one of those vintage TV variety specials, singing duets with a cast of “guest stars.” Most of them might relish the work, and it could’ve been great to see a lot of them back at it; the more the merrier.
“A Very Terry Christmas”
Streaming through Dec. 31. $20. 404-733-4650, alliancetheatre.org.
Bottom line: Some nice singing and lots of great locations, but the concept is awfully cutesy.