Executive director Chris Verdugo and artistic director/conductor Joe Nadeau of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) are busy these days getting ready for the big holiday concert to take place this weekend Saturday December 13 at 3 pm and 8 pm and Sunday December 14 at 3 pm at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
What is new about this year's concert in comparison to those of past years?
GMCLA's Holiday Spectacular: A Gleeful Celebration is drawn from two main inspirations: The TV Show GLEE (which is currently in it's final season) and music that has been performed by men's glee clubs over the years. When looking at the potential list of songs for this concert there were hundreds of selections to choose from. From this extensive list we created a concert that is fun, artistic, challenging, exciting, entertaining, and spectacular. This year there are more costumes and more flesh than in year’s past and possibly the funniest second act we’ve ever had in a Holiday Show.
Is there a happy balance between upbeat popular music and traditional carols?
Very much! Each year GMCLA pulls out all the stops for our Holiday Spectacular - and our audience expect nothing less. For A Gleeful Celebration we will be singing traditional holiday favorites, new and exotic selections from around the world, pop hits, delightful surprises, hilarious spoofs with a fabulous cast of characters.
Tell me more specifically about the comedy in the show.
We end the first half of the concert with a song called "Heavy Christmas". This is a big medley of famous "heavy" hits from classical music with a gay holiday twist. This one song will include appearances from Santa and his (ahem, sexy) reindeer, elves, and toy soldiers. The second half features a show-stopping all-male version of the Nativity - with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, shepherds, wise men, and a heavenly host of angels to bring it all home.
What is planned for 2015? Any special guest stars on tap in the year ahead?
Our Holiday Spectacular is just the first performance in GMCLA's 36th Season. In February, GMCLA will collaborate with the amazing string quartet - Well Strung to present a special concert we are calling Heartstrings. This concert will showcase the LA premiere of a new commissioned work called "Tyler's Suite", showcasing the life and legacy of Tyler Clementi. We also have GMCLA Goes Down Under in March and Vegas Baby in June and are currently in negotiations with some exciting guest artists.
How has the chorus been doing over the past year in its attempt to bring different members of the community closer together?
Over the past several years, we’ve seen an influx of younger members auditioning and making it into the chorus. This wonderful occurrence has created a truly intergenerational membership within the chorus that is mirrored in the make up of our audiences. Never before have we had so many young people attending our season shows. And through the work of our it gets better tour, we are traveling to cities across the country, engaging in conversations about bullying while bridging the gaps that exist in those communities so they can work toward the shared goal of keeping their youth safe, alive and prospering.
The chorus is in a great place and we continue to move upward with the new concerts this February and an expansion of our it gets better tour through California. We’re truly changing hearts and minds in all corners of the world.