Most Broadway musicals are written for white casts, but occasionally someone will try to mount one with an all- or mostly African-American cast. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always fascinating to see whether new performers find unexpected angles and interpretations in old material. The Gifts of the Magi isn’t exactly old — it debuted in New York in 1983 — but Jubilee Theatre will be putting it on, going in a Broadway direction that’s somewhat different from what the troupe usually does for Christmas.
The name of the show comes from the fact that this adapts two short stories by O. Henry, one the famous “The Gift of the Magi” and the other “The Cop and the Anthem,” about a homeless man trying to get arrested so he can spend Christmas with a roof over his head. The musical by Randy Courts and Mark St. Germain received only lukewarm reviews when it premiered, but it has found a life in regional theaters since coming out, and can be a fine evening’s entertainment in the hands of the right cast. We’ll see how well Jubilee takes to this.
The Gifts of the Magi runs Nov 25-Dec 24 at Jubilee Theatre, 506 Main St, FW. Tickets are $19-29. Call 817-338-4411.