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Theater review: ‘Do You Hear What I Hear! A Jubilee Christmas’

The cast of “Do You Hear What I Hear”
The cast of “Do You Hear What I Hear”

It is a Yuletide marriage certain to bring a smile to the faces of even those who did not previously know the bride the groom.

Do You Hear What I Hear! A Jubilee Christmas, the seasonal offering at Jubilee Theatre, unites that company, which does musical revues better than elves make toys, and Akin Babatunde, one of the most creative and entertaining directors in North Texas.

And it is one of the most delicious things to happen to our local Christmas season since nutmeg met eggnog.

The show is simple and straightforward in design. It features nine singers who ease through a series of familiar carols (Silent Night, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, etc.) and a few less well-known holiday treats. Some of the numbers feature the entire ensemble, while a few are solos.

But among the best offerings are those that come from the all-male or all-female quartets Babatunde assigns to certain carols.

Selmore Haines III serves as a sort of emcee for the proceedings and gives the show its most outstanding moment: the mildly raunchy and extremely fun blues number, Back Door Santa, which imagines a neighborhood St. Nick mixing in a little romance with his gift-delivery chores.

The singers often augment their vocals with a few dance steps. Babatunde and choreographer Shaté Edwards do an excellent job of infusing movement into the numbers, making the show glide faster than a 5-year-old heading for the presents on Christmas morning.

One especially fresh bit of staging is seen in the cast’s rendition of The Little Drummer Boy, which features dance steps that take the tune to Bethlehem by way of Soweto.

The show also has a bright and cheerful look, thanks to costume designs by Barbara O’Donoghue. The singers’ frequent changes of attire add some nice visual variety.

One of the most outstanding features of the presentation is the live musical accompaniment of music director Geno Young at the keyboard.

The only thing that does not fully work about this two-hour revue is the framing device written by Babatunde about a homeless man and a troubled mother. It features some nice lines but, on the whole, is a bit maudlin and overly familiar even by Christmas show standards.

But, overall, this holiday revue offers an excellent way to get into the spirit of the season. It is, indeed, a joyful noise.

Do You Hear What I Hear!

  • Through Dec. 27
  • Jubilee Theatre, 506 Main St., Fort Worth
  • 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and Dec. 23 (except Dec. 24 and 25); 3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 24
  • $28-$32
  • 817-338-4411; www.jubileetheatre.org
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