For the cabaret format, the year’s theme focused on light and all the different lights associated with the Christmas story. J. Kent Barnhart explained that each year he chooses to focus on a different aspect of the Christmas season and selects music that fits the theme and singers who best express the feelings through their trained voices.
Christmas 2016 features the voices of Lindsey McKee, LaShea Wright, and Vigthor, Zophoniasson, with J. Kent Barnhart as the piano. Gone are the usual backups of bass and percussion for this show. The beauty of Barnhart’s piano and arrangements combined with the rich texture of the three vocalists unit into an outstanding evening of entertainment.
Many of the selections are songs not generally known and preformed. There are several known songs in Act I, including “O Tannenbaum,” “O Come O Come Emanuel,” “Manger Medley,” “Joy to the World,” “Mary Did You Know.” Act II continues with songs mostly unfamiliar to many but fitting the theme of the show. And, along with them came the Christmas standards, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “Ave Maria,” “O Holy Night,” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” And, many know The Carpenter’s Christmas song, “Merry Christmas, Darling.” Act II definitely ramped up the holiday feeling of good cheer and joy of the holidays.
Besides the music comes Barnhart’s classic narration and wit. While introducing each song or set, his knowledge of the song and the composers and lyricists adds to the entertainment of the evening. Whoever attends learns something new from each production.
“Christmas in Song” provides a great outing for families. Sadly, the audience tends to contain mostly mature patrons, but the scope of each production should attract younger guests. Once music afficionados attend a production, many will return. The show is definitely a musical cabaret; the performers are some of the best in the metro; and the arrangements continue to be outstanding. The only thing missing this year was Barnhart’s classical version of “Jingle Bells,” but, that said, perhaps it will return next year.
For more information, dates, times, prices and more, check out the Quality Hill Playhouse website and book tickets. The show closes Dec. 24 and features both evening and matinee shows.
Tags: Kansas City Nightlife, Quality Hill Playhouse, “Christmas in Song”, Music, Kansas City Cabaret, Performing Arts, Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City