If you are looking for a great way to spend a few hours this weekend, getting your Christmas groove on, then I implore you to head to the cozy Kennedy Theatre at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC. Theatre Raleigh’s yuletide revue, Oh What a (Holy) Night!, is an absolutely delightful concert show containing 31 of your favorite Christmas songs — well, actually 30 Christmas tunes and one Hanukkah number.
This show is a holiday version of Theatre Raleigh’s Oh What a Night: A Concert of Current and Classic Broadway Hits. They have produced three of these concerts to date, with a fourth scheduled for July of 2020. This holiday version has something for everyone. I enjoyed every aspect of director Charlie Brady’s tight production.
The performers are outstanding. The troupe of Jacob Barton, Melvin Gray Jr., Supriya Jaya, Destiny Diamond, Cassidy Hamilton, and Gerard Williams displays brightness and enthusiasm through the entire show. The songs are presented in a cabaret style, like Smokey Joe’s Café. The show breezes by in a fast-paced 90 minutes. The transitions are seamless, as the troupe moves from one song to the next, with effective lighting (by Jeremy Diamond) and costuming.
The choreography by Lauren Kennedy Brady is sharp and snappy. What I liked best is the variety in song choices and styles. There is a perfect mix of somber and upbeat songs.
There are also some interesting arrangements, including gospel-inspired and jazz-themed numbers. The harmonies in the group songs are wonderful. The band is onstage and also is terrific. Music director Jesse Kapsha is on , and is backed by a rhythm section of Kyle Maxwell-Doherty, Marc Davis, and John Simonetti.
My personally favorite number was a duet/medley of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” sung by Gerard Williams and Supriya Jaya, with a deployed military scenario. I also very much liked the hilarious number “Rich, Famous and Powerful,” performed by Cassidy Hamilton.
There are not a lot of tickets left, so act fast. Oh What a (Holy) Night! is a polished and entertaining holiday show that your kids will remember. I highly recommend it.
SECOND OPINION: Dec. 15th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh BWW Review by Lauren Van Hemert: https://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Review-Theatre-Raleighs-OH-WHAT-A-HOLY-NIGHT-Concert-Showcases-Local-Talent-20181215.
Theatre Raleigh presents OH WHAT A (HOLY) NIGHT! at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 and 21 and 3 .m. Dec. 22 in the Sara Lynn and K.D. Kennedy, Jr. Theatre in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $35 ($32.50 for students, senior, and active-duty military personnel).
BOX OFFICE: 919-832-9997, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/369155/2699194.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-832-9997 or email@example.com.
SHOW: https://theatreraleigh.com/oh-what-a-holy-night/, https://www.facebook.com/events/1555977681221743/, and https://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/events/oh-what-holy-night-theatre-raleigh-0.
PRESENTER: http://www.theatreraleigh.com/, https://www.facebook.com/TheatreRaleigh/, https://twitter.com/TheatreRaleigh, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBrPHqUNhtfRMWQ2Ej8Fxeg.
Robert O’Connell is new to the Triangle, but not to the stage. As a playwright, he has had dozens of productions and awards throughout the world. He has an MS degree in Management Systems Analysis. A lifelong educator, O’Connell has also published three novels at http://www.flashmobthenovel.com/ and two humor anthologies from his blog, https://thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com/. He and his wife have settled in Cary, NC. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.