Review: Jubilee offers noteworthy performances

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 unmasks 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 long 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 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.

Sarah Hearn
the authorSarah Hearn
Sarah Hearn is Editor-in-Chief of, founded in 2011. The site was recently named among Feedspot's Top Gospel and Christian Music Websites. Sarah is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Gospel Music Association.

You cannot copy content of this page