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Seattle by David-Edward Hughes

Christmas Glee a Mixed Blessing from The Seattle Men's Chorus at Benaroya Hall

Also see David's reviews of A Christmas Story and Ham For the Holidays

Christmas Glee

The annual Seattle Men's Chorus Christmas concert, this year spoofing (and they are not alone) Will Schuester and company in the appropriately titled Christmas Glee, is an entertaining but not thoroughly successful endeavor, though musically the men, masterfully led by veteran SMC artistic director Dennis Coleman and assistant artistic director Eric Lane Barnes, sounds golden. But more follow-through of the "Glee" satire would have given a lot more cohesion to the event.

Indeed, the theme of the evening seems much more to be a string of "American Holidays" vignettes, including Vegas via the Rat Pack singing a hep version of "Winter Wonderland" and a rousing performance of Straight No-Chaser's version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," well done by the chorus sub-group Capt. Smartypants. There is a lovely Southwest Christmas vocal "Las Posada Navidenas," a full-voiced "Looking for a Manger" ala Branson, Mo, and a full throttle ode to Broadway Christmas with a vivid recreation of the original Michael Bennett staging of "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises. The Glee Section itself encompasses "The 12 Gays of Christmas," "Last Christmas" and of course "Don't Stop Believing."

As usual a heaping serving of more serious/traditional fare like "Ave Maria," "O Come Emmanuel" and a really lovely "There is No Rose of Such Virtue" is on the program, as well as the always heart-tugging "Silent Night" culminating in a silent, sign-language interpreted chorus. It is a well sung and musically varied show, which while never becoming lugubrious or too maudlin, is oddly lacking in the heaping serving of campy glee (though with no shortage of drag queens) that has informed the best holiday concerts. Those able to attend the first two shows were treated to special guest Broadway star vocalist Kelli O'Hara, and I count myself unfortunate to have missed out on hearing her sing with the guys.

Christmas Glee has additional performances through December 20, 2010, at Benaroya Hall, 3rd and Union in downtown Seattle. For tickets and more information go to www.flyinghouse.org.

See the list of this season's theatre offerings in the Seattle area.



- David Edward Hughes



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