Sunday, November 29, 2015


Don’t for a moment confuse the Christmas tale of an eleven year old girl named Lisa who ventures off to Toyland and tries to stop an ill-fated wedding in the 1903 Victor Herbert operetta or the 1986 television movie “Babes in Toyland” with the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus’s current offering “Babes in Boyland!”  While both are holiday celebrations, they are worlds apart.

The chorus, now in its thirtieth season of providing unique and clever productions, that can be incredibly moving like last spring’s emotionally sensitive “I Am Harvey Milk,” will be up to its new and old tricks this Christmas go-round.  Their twenty-four voice chorus will provide traditional holiday tunes, often with particularly piquant parodies, but this time with a distinct twist.

Think pink peppermint candy canes and red sugar sprinkled star cookies for the debonair gentlemen of the CGMC are ready to welcome to their ranks five dynamic ladies to the stage of the Co-Op Theater, 177 College Street, New Haven. For two performances on Saturday, December 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 4 p.m., the men are prepared to share their boas and sequins.

Lining up to take top billing will be Marissa Perry of Waterbury who is known for roles in such productions as Tracy Turnblad, the feisty and fair-minded teenager in “Hairspray,” as well as playing in the world premiere of “Princesses” and the current Broadway production of “Sister Act.”  Joining her will be her mom, Joyce Follo-Jeffrey of Southington who has been performing regionally for five decades as well as being a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant when she’s not on stage.

Adding her classically-trained award-winning voice to the choir will be music teacher and music director Jaclyn Chiarelli of New Haven, Meriden’s Maureen “Mo” Peitler Lederman who was the female lead with the CGMC’s New England premiere of Andrew Lippa’s “I Am Harvey Milk” and classical soprano Christine Gill from Guilford who is well known in musical theater circles.

According to Artistic Director Greg McMahan, “These ladies bring a huge variety of styles to the performance, from Broadway belters to operatic sopranos.  It’s allowed us the chance to do styles of music we haven’t been able to do in the past, and our singers are really enjoying the collaboration.”
 McMahan feels the addition of this female quintet will allow the chorus to venture into new directions and produce an amazing sound not possible before.  "We're not doing just comedy, drag, camp and silly and not just choral pieces.  This time around we'll put on a cool version of "White Winter Hymnal" as well as some Mariah Carey hits, more difficult arrangements, plus lots of surprises."  Members of the CGMC suggested the names of women they wanted to sing and perform with and McMahan has made it happen, creating "a beautiful art experience at Christmas."

For tickets ($25-$30), call 800-644-2462(CGMC) or go online at

Be prepared to have your stocking caps fly off your head as the CGMC entertains five ladies of the theater to celebrate the holidays in grand fashion.

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