The cast includes (top left to right) Jacob Barton, Destiny Diamond, Melvin Gray Jr., Gerard M.
Williams, and Supriya Jaya and (bottom) Cassidy Hamilton (photo by Lauren Kennedy Brady).
Nothing puts people in the holiday spirit quite like Christmas music, a fact Theatre Raleigh seems to know well. Thankfully, it has come up with the perfect way to make even the most Scrooge-like person feel like spreading some holiday cheer: a musical evening of song and dance titled Oh What a Holy Night. This fun, concert-style show, with energized direction by Charlie Brady and perfectly-matched choreography by Lauren Kennedy Brady, features a whole host of Christmas tunes and a lively, talented cast performing each one to perfection.
The set, designed beautifully by Chris Bernier, is appropriately-equipped with a stocking-clad fireplace, a glistening tree, lights, and even a menorah. This serves as the perfect backdrop for the diverse cast, made up of six multi-talented performers, who offer non-stop entertainment for a full, breathless 85 minutes.
The fun begins when a lively rendition of “What Christmas Means to Me” interrupts a dull “Carol of the Bells,” setting the spunky, fun tone for the evening. And, as one song flows seamlessly into the next, it’s impossible not to have a blast, especially with the younger viewers in the audience happily ringing bells at will.
Great moments include the funny choreography for “Jingle Bells,” which features the performers pretending to bounce along in a (one horse open) sleigh; a gender-bending “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” that’s more charming and less creepy than the original version; Destiny Diamond’s lovely performance of “White Christmas;” and Cassidy Hamilton’s hilariously bratty performance of “Rich, Famous, and Powerful,” which adds a nice change of pace to the evening. And, speaking of changing the pace, there’s even a Hanukkah song included so that everyone feels welcome. And, everyone definitely will thanks to the warm intimacy of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the obvious love and heart that went into this special show.
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