BWW Review: CHRISTMAS IN SONG at Quality Hill Playhouse

BWW Review: CHRISTMAS IN SONG at Quality Hill Playhouse

Kansas City has many fine holiday traditions. One of my favorites is the annual "Christmas in Song" presented by Quality Hill Playhouse. It is an eclectic mix of old favorites, newer Broadway presentations, and songs presented in a style different than you might usually hear them.

Producing Artistic Director J. Kent Barnhart has worked as pianist, musical director, director, and producer for over 25 years. His cabaret style musicals have been a success with audiences since 1995.

Barnhart has cast voices that blend together successfully and each also gets their turn to shine as individuals in the fast paced presentation.

The show opens with all four singers singing an acapella version of "Ding Dong! Merrily O High". This can be a risk, but all four singers handle the old French Carol in a melodious fashion.

With Barnhart at the piano the company sings the next three numbers together. "Carol Of The Bells", "O Little Town", and "O Tannenbaum", rounding out a set of religious favorites.

La Teesha McDonald Jackson and Sarah La Barr then blend their voices together in "The First Noel/Pachelbel's Canon"

All the singers then join in on the Welsh Carol "Deck the Halls". It's a fun version that had all the voices blending together.

Jackson smoothly handles the traditional "The Birthday Of a King".

Quality Hill newcomer Joseph Carr shows his range in the Yon/Martens number "Gesu Bambino".

Kent Barnhart and Sarah La Barr play a four-hands duet of the traditional carol, "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". They conclude the number in a rousing fashion.

Barnhart sings on his own in "O Come, O Come Emanuel".

The first act concludes with all four voices blending together with a Manger Medley of traditional carols followed by the traditional "Joy to the world" and O Holy Night".

Things lighten up in the second act with a piano solo "Linus and Lucy" played by Kent Barnhart.

All four sing the next two modern favorites "Christmas Time Is Here" , by Vince Guaraldi and " Breath of Heaven", written by Amy Grant.

"Christmas Lullaby" by Jason Robert Brown is sung by La Teesha McDonald Jackson. And the Harry Connick, Jr. song "I Come With love", is sung by Sarah La Barr and others blending in.

Joseph Carr and others give life to the song, "All Year Long".

Next the ensemble gives us a listen to the entire version of "The Christmas Song" by Mel Torme and Robert Wells. Some in the audience didn't recognize the opening lines of the song as it is not often played in it's entirety.

Jackson and Carr combine in the blending of "I Believe/Ave Marie".

All singers present a dramatic version of the powerful, "One God".

Barnhart and others wax nostalgic in "Til The Season C omes Round Again".

And the entire group closes out the show with The Irving Berlin favorite "White Christmas", followed by a foot stomping version of the traditional spiritual number, Go Tell It On The Mountain".

The groupings of the songs are explained by the dialogue of J. Kent Barnhart whose knowledge of the songs as well as personal notes and historical perspectives add to the presentation. Barnhart has become a good monologist and adds humor and a personal touch.

"Christmas In Song" will run through December 24th at Quality Hill Playhouse with many performances scheduled because of strong demand. Questions can be answered at 816-421-1700. And information is available on-line at Quality Hill Playhouse.com.

Kansas City has many fine holiday traditions. One of my favorites is the annual "Christmas in Song" presented by Quality Hill Playhouse. It is an eclectic mix of old favorites, newer Broadway presentations, and songs presented in a style different than you might usually hear them.

Producing Artistic Director J. Kent Barnhart has worked as pianist, musical director, director, and producer for over 25 years. His cabaret style musicals have been a success with audiences since 1995.

Barnhart has cast voices that blend together successfully and each also gets their turn to shine as individuals in the fast paced presentation.

The show opens with all four singers singing an acapella version of "Ding Dong! Merrily O High". This can be a risk, but all four singers handle the old French Carol in a melodious fashion.

With Barnhart at the piano the company sings the next three numbers together. "Carol Of The Bells", "O Little Town", and "O Tannenbaum", rounding out a set of religious favorites.

La Teesha McDonald Jackson and Sarah La Barr then blend their voices together in "The First Noel/Pachelbel's Canon"

All the singers then join in on the Welsh Carol "Deck the Halls". It's a fun version that had all the voices blending together.

Jackson smoothly handles the traditional "The Birthday Of a King".

Quality Hill newcomer Joseph Carr shows his range in the Yon/Martens number "Gesu Bambino".

Kent Barnhart and Sarah La Barr play a four-hands duet of the traditional carol, "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". They conclude the number in a rousing fashion.

Barnhart sings on his own in "O Come, O Come Emanuel".

The first act concludes with all four voices blending together with a Manger Medley of traditional carols followed by the traditional "Joy to the world" and O Holy Night".

Things lighten up in the second act with a piano solo "Linus and Lucy" played by Kent Barnhart.

All four sing the next two modern favorites "Christmas Time Is Here" , by Vince Guaraldi and " Breath of Heaven", written by Amy Grant.

"Christmas Lullaby" by Jason Robert Brown is sung by La Teesha McDonald Jackson. And the Harry Connick, Jr. song "I Come With love", is sung by Sarah La Barr and others blending in.

Joseph Carr and others give life to the song, "All Year Long".

Next the ensemble gives us a listen to the entire version of "The Christmas Song" by Mel Torme and Robert Wells. Some in the audience didn't recognize the opening lines of the song as it is not often played in it's entirety.

Jackson and Carr combine in the blending of "I Believe/Ave Marie".

All singers present a dramatic version of the powerful, "One God".

Barnhart and others wax nostalgic in "Til The Season C omes Round Again".

And the entire group closes out the show with The Irving Berlin favorite "White Christmas", followed by a foot stomping version of the traditional spiritual number, Go Tell It On The Mountain".

The groupings of the songs are explained by the dialogue of J. Kent Barnhart whose knowledge of the songs as well as personal notes and historical perspectives add to the presentation. Barnhart has become a good monologist and adds humor and a personal touch.

"Christmas In Song" will run through December 24th at Quality Hill Playhouse with many performances scheduled because of strong demand. Questions can be answered at 816-421-1700. And information is available on-line at Quality Hill Playhouse.com.


Related Articles

Kansas City THEATER Stories | Shows


From This Author Michael Hogge

Michael Hogge Michael Hogge is host of “Arts Magazine” on KKFI-Community Radio over the last 28 years. He knows and has interviewed almost all of the Kansas (read more...)

  • BWW Review: CHRISTMAS IN SONG at Quality Hill Playhouse
  • BWW Review: CYMBELINE at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre
  • Before you go...