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BWW Review: GAY MEN'S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON DC ---THE HOLIDAY SHOW

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The GMCW is a national treasure.

BWW Review: GAY MEN'S CHORUS OF WASHINGTON DC ---THE HOLIDAY SHOW
The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC.
Photo by Craig Cipollini.

The joyous holiday sleighride of rich musical moments and enthusiastic commitment continues as the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC (GMCW) presents The Holiday Show. This dedicated group has entertained the LGBTQ community for decades and it is refreshing to see them live in concert at their holiday offering. GMCW has plunged ahead during this daunting era with their effective outreach and fine virtual offerings, but it was so delightful to see them live in concert once again. These grueling times demand a little lift, and this is the group that can fill the bill with top-notch musical energy.

Under the talented and progressive leadership of Artistic Director Thea Kano, the GMCW has delivered the holiday goods with style and inclusive flair. Associate Conductor C. Paul Heins and Pianist and Principal Accompanist Theodore Guerrant enriched the festive proceedings considerably.

A veneer of jazzy, swinging bounciness pervaded much of this evening's concert ---except for the most formal numbers. The musicianship was robust and resonant, and this uplifting show was an extremely creative melding of ethereally mesmerizing songs intermixed with amusing and campy, comic numbers. Stage Director Solomon HaileSelassie and Production Manager Chipper Dean should be commended for their professional zeal in coordinating such a solid undertaking with brisk energy----the concert seemed to end much too soon.

Sartorial splendor was evident in the Costumes by Jeffrey Hollands and Gary Turner----the stage was awash with vibrant greens and reds throughout. This sartorial splendor was inviting and on view as the chorus and ensembles wore colorful scarves adorning their jackets and sweaters, but it exceeded expectations in the wonderfully outrageous novelty numbers "SparkleJolly/TwinkleJingley" and "Super Gay Christmas" ---be prepared for costumes reminiscent of Off-Broadway's celebrated Howard Crabtree---"over-the -top" delight!

The ensembles that comprise the GMCW were in full force, and all were in exceptional form. Particularly commendable was the A cappella group Potomac Fever, which delivered two songs in masterly style. "That's Christmas to Me" and "Boogie Woogie Frosty" were delivered in their impeccable yet hip style---this ensemble is on par with the acclaimed groups the Manhattan Transfer or the Persuasions.

The spiritually infused gospel group (led by Joshua Sommerville) Seasons of Love was an absorbing and emotional powerhouse as they sang "This is Christmas/Listen to the Bells". Soloists Tommie Adams Jr., Kerry Neal, Elishua Perez, Mikal Rasheed, and Micah Yarbrough were outstanding.

"The Chanukah Song (We Are Lights)" was particularly evocative and moving both in musicianship and presentation. Highly immersive and reflective singing was sensitively delivered as candles were lit and the words "we are miracles----lighting up the dark" (by lyricist Steve Young ---music by Stephen Schwartz) lingered in the mind. This arrangement by Mac Huff was stunning and soloist Josh Millson-Martula enthralled the audience.

The GenOUT Chorus has grown in confidence and professionalism, and they wowed the crowed in the highly rhythmic and choreographed amusing take on "Mrs. Claus". This committed ensemble also contributed strongly to the GMCW'S inclusive and welcoming paean to diverse holiday traditions in the reflective and very affirming "Merry Everything". (A big shout-out to GenOUT Choreographer Iván Dávila).

The GMCW conveyed a joyfully rousing rendition of "Te Deseo Feliz Navidad" with verve and panache. Soloists Jahdiel Torres Cabá and Gabriel Lopez were outstanding.

The Rock Creek Singers ensemble displayed mesmerizing harmony and perception in their beautiful rendition of "Glow" with a fine piano accompaniment by Lisa Edwards.

Choreography throughout the entire concert was beautifully done with finesse and polish from the more energetically amusing dance pieces to the movement for the more stylized songs. Kudos to Choreographers Craig Cipollini and James Ellzy and Tap Choreographer Danny Aldous. The choreography flowed from the beginning to the end of the concert and complimented the mood of every song.

The 17th Street Dance ensemble performed an intriguing balletic dance interpretation of the song "Cold Enough to Snow" (Music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz). The ensemble also joined the GMCW for the rollicking and rocking upbeat and extravagant finale "12 Rockin' Days of Christmas".

Set Design by Bernard Vicary was creatively handled, Lighting Design by Solomon HaileSelassie was quite festive and Sound Design by Mark Klein was solid.

The GMCW is a national treasure, and The Holiday Show adds to the riches.

Running Time: 75 minutes with no intermission.

The Holiday Show of the GMCW was presented on December 4, 2021at 8pm, at Lincoln Theatre at 1215 U Street NW, Washington DC and will continue December 11th at 3pm and 8pm and December 12th at 3pm. For tickets go ONLINE.


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