Prose puts audience in spirit of holiday 
with annual show

December 4, 2001

By SCOTT CRONICK For The Press, (609) 272-7017

ATLANTIC CITY - CHRISTMAS SHOW - Charlie Prose 3:30 p.m. today to Friday 
                                                 at Bally's Atlantic City. Tickets $22.50. Call (800) 736-1420.

     Charlie Prose has been doing a Christmas show in Atlantic City for the past 13 years. It's the longest running holiday show in the city, and after seeing Prose's performance this year at Bally's Atlantic City, it's no wonder why.

     Prose is a Christmas phenomenon. His light-hearted, clean humor, his ability to carry a tune and his wonderful piano work make his one-hour, 45-minute show go by as fast as Santa's sleigh.

     A sold-out crowd of approximately 1,000 (mostly senior citizens,) hung on to every Prose word and note at his Nov. 29 season premiere. While most of them seemed to have seen Prose's show all 13 years, it didn't matter. He brings a fresh routine every year, and the crowds eat it up.

     Backed by 13 musicians, including the Carmen Dee Orchestra, pianist Ed Hagopian, a rhythm section and two backup female singers, Prose opened with "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." His version contained a neat arrangement that incorporated the Peanuts' Christmas theme song.

     Prose hammers out only a few songs through the entire show, including a heartwarming rendition of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" and a crowd-pleasing medley of Christmas songs that includes "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," "Jingle Bells" and "Holly Jolly Christmas." While he's not the world's greatest singer, his personality carries his songs, and Prose seems to know that.

     That's why he enlisted David Grayson, a superb singer in the traditional sense, who wowed the crowd with "Feliz Navidad," "Birthday Party of the King" and a stirring version of "O Holy Night," one of the afternoon's highlights.

     The rest of the show was all Prose. He showed off his piano-playing prowess with songs like "A Kiss is Just a Kiss," "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" and "White Christmas," but it was his humor that stole the show.

     Prose's stories about his family and growing up as an Italian Catholic in South Philadelphia are quite funny. Even jokes you may have heard a thousand times are made fresh by Prose's ability to work the audience.

     "My 92-year-old uncle wants Viagra," Prose said. "I called his doctor and he said that was like putting a flagpole on a condemned building."

      "There's two things us Catholics know about: rhythm and bingo," Prose joked. "If you didn't have rhythm, BINGO!"

    The crowd loved it.

     When Prose received his usual standing ovation at the end of his performance, it was well deserved. Sure, there are a lot of things you have to get done before Christmas, but put seeing Charlie Prose at the top of your list.