Jubilee takes a look at the early years of the Fisk Jubilee Singers as they toured throughout the United States and internationally. But its not quite a simple story because Jubilee peels back the layers of the singers’ origin and unmasked the struggles they endured in an America, not quite ready to level the playing field along racial lines.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers, were created not too longer shortly after the Civil War and as a new choir they set up raising funds for Fisk University to make higher education available to African Americans.
Written and directed by Tazewell Thompson with musical arrangements and direction by Dianne Adams McDowell, the musical is filled with hymns and spIrituals, some long forgotten, but given new life in this musical tour de force. Songs like “Over My Head,” Didn’t My Lord Deliver,’ “Dem Bones,” may prove nostalgic for some and new to others.
Actress and singer Aundi Marie Moore as Maggie Porter is superb and her soaring voice and her diva antics fall right in line with the historical Porter who was known as the diva” of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Moore gets it right.
Jubilee, does an job of sharing the history of the Fisk university and the choir and also keeping the audience fully engaged. the finale which recalls the fates of each singer is poignant and thought provoking and its fantastic that Jubilee chose to tell it.
Jubilee plays through June 9, 2019, presented by the Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth Street, SW, Washington, DC. For tickets, call (202) 488-3300 or go online.