Home Arts-Entertainment Things to do CARIBBEAN 'CHRISTMASFEST 2' SET AT REICHHOLD



A year ago, the Reichhold Center for the Arts undertook to produce an in-house Christmas musical "that was different from what everyone else was doing — a show that would both celebrate and validate Christmas in grand Caribbean style," director David Edgecombe wrote in the Stage Bill for the program.
What he and his helpers came up with, of course, was the musical of that very name, "Christmas Caribbean Style." Adapted from a family-centered play by Trinidadian Carl Barclay and featuring top local talent performing sacred and secular music and dance, the one-night production, on Dec. 23, proved to be a huge draw. There was no question that there would be a "second annual" this season.
And so there shall be. This time with two performances.
And not a month or a week or even a day or two ahead of time, but on the very nights of Christmas Day and Christmas Second Day — this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 25 and 26.
The play, involving Grandma, her grandchildren and the traditional nativity scene players – – Mary and Joseph, shepherds, wise men, an angel — is the Christmas tree to hang the CHRISTMASfest 2 talent numbers on.
Josephine Thomas-Lewis, founding director of the gospel group Friends, is back reprising her role as musical director. Also returning are Friends; the back-up band, Simon Sez (so named because the five musicians are all members of the Simon musical family that spans three generations); and vocalist Lorna Freeman.
Many of the other featured performers are veterans of the annual STARfest revues and other local Reichhold productions. The line-up includes the 40-voice Caribbean Flayva choir; singers Ronald Nimmo, Landi Jackson, Jo-Jo and St. Croix's Lansiquot Sisters trio; the rap duo 2E-Kwip; the pantomime groups Purpose and GCV; and the dance company Klymax.
In a clever Caribbean twist, the program will also feature the Three Kings (and a Queen) – – calypsonian monarchs Louis Ible Jr., Ras Regg, Whadablee and Nikki Brooks.
In this year when the word "Christmas" has all but disappeared from marketing and the media, absorbed into anonymity for the "holiday season" with its "season's greetings" and "year- end holidays," the Reichhold Center has blatantly opted to put it back in. A few disbelievers and Scrooges may take umbrage, but for the community that keeps — or would like to keep — Christmas, Caribbean style, it's a great gift well worth the price of admission.
Curtain time both nights is 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in the covered section, $12 and $8 in the open air — with discounts available for youth, senior and church groups making advance reservations. To learn more, call the box office at 693-1559 or check out the Reichhold web site, www.reichholdcenter.com.


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