Monday, Nov 11, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 2, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 48
Cool Yule kicks off holiday season with serious music, outrageous skits
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Cool Yule kicks off holiday season with serious music, outrageous skits

by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

Cool Yule: The Big Band Theory
Benaroya Hall
Through December 23


Cool Yule: The Big Band Theory, the 2011 holiday show from the Seattle Men's Chorus, kicked off the holiday season for several thousand fans. The show, which opened Thanksgiving weekend, is a cornucopia of seasonal treats - some outstanding serious music, some truly outrageous skits, a couple of out-and-out misfires, and some gently updated holiday classics. SMC scheduled multiple concerts for the season. Evening shows on varied dates through December 23 plus a matinee that final day give SMC fans a wide variety of choices. All performances are at Benaroya Hall, the home of the Seattle Symphony, in downtown Seattle.

Two personal anecdotes:

One: In this writer's circle of friends, two SMC holiday concert philosophies dominate. One group likes to go the opening weekend, enjoy the 'special guest star,' and start the holiday season with SMC. The other group likes to go to one of the very final programs to anchor Christmas week. Both approaches work. Although the current program was 'not quite ready for prime time,' as the saying goes, it certainly sent the cheering audience out and into the holiday season and the holiday mood. Some sequences, like the acclaimed 'Silent Night' staging in sign language, will hit closer to home as Christmas actually nears. The guest star factor - a bonus for many on the first weekend - will fade. Either approach is fine - or any other choice. Several friends make it a simple choice: 'give me a matinee and I'll go.'

Two: Killing time before the concert, I ran into a salesclerk at Macy's who I hadn't seen in several years. She asked what brought me downtown. I mentioned 'a Christmas concert' and, later, dinner with my concert friend. She smiled 'that' smile and asked if I meant the Seattle Men's Chorus concert. I confirmed my destination. She said she was going to buy tickets for a later concert 'for my nephew' who is turning 15. I suggested it would be a fun outing (no pun intended). She laughed and revealed that 'we imagine he'll be singing with the group in future years - might as well show him what it's all about now.' It was a great, inclusive way to approach the program.

Cool Yule is a typical SMC concert - a lot of elements, a lot of talent, a lot of (sometimes too much) low humor. Among the musical highlights of this program were two sequences in Act One. 'O Magnum Mysterium' ('O, Great Mystery') was one of the most beautiful songs the chorus has ever performed. And it was beautifully performed - in Latin. It was quickly followed with 'There Is No Rose,' a celebrating of the Virgin Mary. The chorus parted to allow nine countertenors to form a semi-circle at the top of the chorus risers. In Act Two, the serious selections again proved to be musical highlights - 'When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled (The Work of Christmas Begins)' is a smashing new work that could easily become a holiday classic. The traditional 'Silent Night,' performed in sign language with an amazing clarinet solo, was another show-stopping serious moment (but not quite as polished as it will be in later performances).

'O Come, All Ye Faithful' and 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen' proved to be well chosen seasonal classics to open Act Two. A rambling skit - shoehorning all of TV's annual Christmas specials into one overly complex production number - was slow to take hold, although reducing Home Alone to a single scream of anguish was a brilliant moment. The skit will undoubtedly improve as the month continues. (In exiting the two-and-a-half-hour program, one audience member complimented a chorus member. He smiled back and spoke the truth: 'We might have it together by December 23.')

Act One opened with five 'filler' selections. The 'Cool Yule' title song is a long-forgotten work by Steve Allen that was fun to hear, but nothing special. '(Everybody's Waiting For) The Man With the Bag' followed - ditto. 'Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,' 'Jing-a-Ling, Jing-a-Ling' - ditto, ditto. '50 Kilowatt Tree,' a song-and-skit, brought Captain Smartypants center stage but was a near misfire, only because of the limited musical possibilities.

Special guest star Megan Hilty appeared toward the end of Act One, tripping on the hem of her overly elaborate gown ('a fashion disaster,' one friend termed it at intermission). The Bellevue native has done well on Broadway and stars in the upcoming TV series Smash. A lovely Christmas choice, 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,' showed her to be a true talent, despite the somewhat vapid stage persona. A lovely follow-up, 'There's a Place Called Home,' again displayed fine technique. Her Act Two return showcased her in a sultry 'Santa Baby' and a charming outing with 'The Christmas Song,' better known from its opening lyric, 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire....' Her second diva dress was a better choice but still looked borrowed-for-the-occasion. Her final, encore outing, with 'Popular' from Wicked, the show that started her on her Broadway career, again showed her to be a real talent. The 'special guest star' always appears at the opening holiday concerts, presumably to get the ball rolling on ticket sales, but the show has so much going on that concertgoers at subsequent shows rarely miss the hoopla.

'This Holiday' was a pleasant Christmas selection, new to most of the audience. A wonderfully funny skit, based on various misunderstandings of Broadway's The Book of Mormon, literally stopped the show. Ethel Merman, a fun drag cameo, barged onstage presuming it was The Book Of Merman. Four nearly dressed male models thought it was The Book Of More Men. A presidential candidate thought it was & well, you get the idea.

One of SMC's best parody song skits ended Act One. To the tune of 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland,' the chorus performed - and members modeled - 'Walkin' 'Round in Women's Underwear.' It may be the funniest skit SMC has ever pulled off.

One highlight of Act Two was a new number, 'Black Christmas,' a politically charged satirical song from an African American perspective. Alas, the following sing-along, described as in the style of the Supremes and the Temptations, was a total misfire. 'Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow' brought The Andrews Brothers back to stage center - it appears to be a new trio for the Chorus but might just be a one-time-only group. Close harmony - well done. 'I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm' clearly delighted the smiling crowd. A silly science skit needs more thought, but a 'Hot Hanukkah' finale was an audience pleaser. A reprise of 'Cool Yule' seemed to end the show, but Hilty returned with 'Popular' (and her best dress) and then SMC encored (again) with 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' - a wonderful ending with terrific choreography on the risers - marred only when one chorus member took a bad fall and others seemed near tripping. Again, the show will be polished as the concerts go on.

A troupe of dancers, likewise, will get better and work as more of an ensemble. Sometimes it seems that the Men's Chorus simply attempts too much. It will be fun to find out what friends report from later performances. Good tickets for all remaining shows are available at (206) 388-1400 or online at www.flyinghouse.org. Check it out.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

This year's Ham is to die for!
------------------------------
Cool Yule kicks off holiday season with serious music, outrageous skits
------------------------------
Dina Martina is back to make the holidays surreal
------------------------------
Deborah Cox to headline Seattle Red Dress Party
------------------------------
Man in the Newspaper Hat falls well short of potential
------------------------------
Beasley's Christmas Party a sure-fire family favorite
------------------------------
A holiday hangover with a Ho
------------------------------
Grammy nominations: West leads, Seattle acts nab three
------------------------------

------------------------------
Hillary Clinton's most impressive speech on human/lgbt rights in Geneva...most incredible

http://www.humanrights.gov/2011/12/06/human-rights-geneva/

------------------------------
A Dyke About Town: Ain't Misbehavin' a lot of fun
------------------------------
Scorsese's Hugo pure cinematic magic
------------------------------
Muppets still make a rainbow connection
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
Tori Amos interview coming December 9
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
West Side Story a great restoration of a great musical
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News