Get ready to cry, laugh, and be enthralled in the captivating Christmas musical, First Noel, now playing at The Apollo for a limited engagement. If you haven’t yet gotten into the holiday spirit, this emotional musical will certainly do the trick! I recently saw the show and loved its catchy music and passionate performances by the actors.
In the story, a woman named Noel returns to her childhood home in Harlem with the decision to sell the house after her mother’s recent death. While waiting for the agent to bring back the paperwork she reflects back on her memories. In a type of flashback she views scenes from her past while still on stage as she’s watching scenes unfold before her eyes. Her older sister, also named Noel, died at age 9 before she was born and right before Christmas. Consequently her mother did not let her celebrate Christmas as a child. Young Noel was very unhappy with having a strict mother and so one day when her grandmother comes for a surprise visit she is full of hope again. But the grandmother’s visit opens up a pandora’s box and the family has to face their demons this was a moving scene-stealing performance). Eventually, though, Noel’s mother learns to let go and the family turns a new page. After remembering this turning point in her life, grownup Noel decides to tear up the paperwork and not to sell the house.
The show definitely had bittersweet tones. There are scenes of sadness along with comic scenes and uplifting scenes. Throughout the show the music plays a big role in creating the atmosphere. Whether it’s an emotional scene where grownup Noel is singing alongside her father from the past, or in a hysterical crowd-pleasing choir performance with the charismatic preacher, the show provides a healthy mix of emotions.
The songs are an eclectic mix of jazz, gospel and pop with some powerful ballads. Most of the songs are original, with a few Christmas favorites peppered in. The book, music and lyrics are written by Lelund Durond Thompson and Jason Michael Webb. Webb, also responsible for orchestrations, was also the music director in The Color Purple on Broadway.
The performance is 90 minutes long with no intermission. I recommend it for kids age 10 and up because of the content.
When: Wednesday, December 14 at 2pm & 7:30pm
Thursday, December 15 at 7:30pm
Friday, December 16 at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 17 at 2pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 18 at 2pm matinee
Where: The Apollo Theater
253 West 125th Street, NYC
Price: starting at $33.50
To purchase tickets click here or call the box office (212) 531-5305
Photos by Jill Jones
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets to the show.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for fourteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 9, 7 and 4) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.