Jumpstart your holiday spirit with Naughty & Nice, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s warmhearted, sassy and sexy extravaganza. For traditionalists, there’s Irving Berlin’s “Snow,” “The Dreidel Song,” and “I’ll Be Home” which blends the classic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with Meghan Trainor’s beautiful “I’ll Be Home” (featuring soloists Jon Perry and Ido Politi) — gorgeous arrangements and lush harmonies that nourish the soul. To tweak the traditions more than a bit, “Jingle Bells” lyrics are hilariously mashed up with Handel (“Jingle Bells Halleluhah”) and the Village People (“J.B.M.C.A., Jingle Bells, Merry Christmas to All”) which had the audience roaring with laughter.
It wouldn’t be the Chorus we all know and love without a bit of drag, a little leather and a whole lot of zany. John Knapp led the Chorus in a manic tribute to that dreaded, inedible holiday staple (“Recycle the Fruitcake”). Overexposure to the toxic loaf kept the team of bakers in a singing and dancing trance for the better part of twenty minutes.
Sam Brinton channeled a blonde bombshell, a little Cathy Moriarty a lot of Jessica Rabbit, on “Merry Christmas, I Win” — making sure we understand in no uncertain terms that Barbie is not going to have it all while she’s around.
Santa stalker Brad Rinaldo laid the cookies and milk bait for the red-suited polar bear, his leather pant and harness making clear it’s not reindeer games he has in mind. The Chorus was joined by 17th Street Dance and the GMCW Dancers on “Favorite One,” a song adopted from The Will Rogers Follies, and requiring some slap-happy, break-neck choreography.
Potomac Fever deliver two jazzy a cappella songs, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (featuring Jonathan Jones and Paul Negron) and “Text Me Merry Christmas” (featuring Robert T. Boaz and Matt Holland), full of intricate harmonies, wit and charm.
Another highlight of the evening was the Genout Chorus, a troupe of young gals and guys sponsored by GMCW. They rocked out to the funny “The Twelve Days of a Regifted Christmas” and charmed the audience with the traditional Irish carol, “The Snow Lay on the Ground.” Their voices blended full on with the Chorus on “Christmas Round” as both choruses complemented one another.
The show started with a comedy skit about the P.C. perils of office holiday parties with Andrew Powaleny as a beleaguered woman disintegrating before our eyes under the increasingly impossible chore of accommodating everyone’s seasonal celebrations. It closed with Michael Aylward’s crystal pure voice as soloist on “Merry Everything,” an homage to civility, decency, tolerance, inclusiveness and all those other attributes now disdained as “politically correct” which you to be considered just good manners.
Gorgeous voices, handsome men, a bevy of dancing boys complete with tapping, high kicking, modern dance moves, a Village People strut and even a few back flips — that’s a happy holiday indeed at The Gay Men’s Chorus’ festive Naughty & Nice.
Kudos once again to Artistic Director Thea Kano, and to guest conductor Rob Finn on “Sleigh Ride,” stage director John Moran, choreographers Craig Cipollini and James Elizy, and the band (piano – Theodore Guerrant and Tim Smith; bass – Mary Scott; and drums -Paul Keesling.
Running Time: One hour and forty minutes, which includes a 15-minute intermission.
Naughty & Nice plays Saturday, December 17th at 3 pm and 8 pm and Sunday, December 18, 2016, at 3 PM at Lincoln Theatre – 1215 U Street NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (877) 435-9849, or purchase them online. For ASL tickets (both 3 pm shows) and groups of 10 or more, call call (202) 293-1548.