No matter what holiday you may celebrate, bringing the family together always means there is always a mix of fun, family traditions, and inevitable change. The world premiere 1222 OCEANFRONT: A BLACK FAMILY CHRISTMAS, now playing through December 26th at New Village Arts brings a lovely and new holiday story to the stage that showcases the love and the music of the holiday season.
This new show brings something not often seen on stage this time of year – a family of color at the heart of the holiday narrative. Instead of stodgy Victorian morality tales, or holiday classic movies adapted for the stage, this play brings some welcome diversity in perspective, performers, and modernity. Written by Dea Hurston and conceived of by four artists of color including Hurston, Milena (Sellers) Phillips, Frankie Alicea-Ford, and Kevin “Blax” Burroughs, with additional musicalization by (Sellers) Phillips and composer John-Mark McGaha, the story is funny, heartwarming, and celebratory of the season, family, and even Southern California.
The Black family has had the same holiday traditions for the past 30 years, and this year widowed matriarch Dorothy Black (Sellers Phillips) is excited to bring some new traditions, and people into the family fold. Her son James Jr. (Kory LaQuess Pullam) is less than thrilled with anything that may threaten his well-ordered world, and his wife Aadya (Deja Fields) finds herself managing both his stress, along with her own.
James’s little brother Javier (Frankie Alicea-Ford) is much more open to new traditions (and annoying his brother) but is also stressed because his significant other still hasn’t arrived after promising not to miss this event. Lizzie (Portia Gregory), Dorothy’s sister and definition of comedic and goofy aunt is also trying to help Dorothy expand her horizons this holiday, and invited her coworker Victor (Victor Morris) over as a potential love interest for her sister. Little does she know that this sets off a chain of events that is hilarious and ensures that this holiday is like no other in Black family history.
Songs are peppered throughout the show, from traditional carols, to “Jingle Bells” in Spanish, and soulful riffs, the show has moments for every character to shine, Directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg the show has a serious heart under some musical and festive hijinks.
How To Get Tickets
1222 OCEANFRONT: A BLACK FAMILY CHRISTMAS is playing at New Village Arts through December 26th. For ticket and showtime information go to newvillagearts.org
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