I know that I am the minority here, but for some reason, I have never been able to successfully sit through most of the song and dance that embodies the very nature of musicals. I usually get distracted and find myself wanting to change the channel in the middle of the theater. I remember going to see the film adaptation of “Into the Woods” years ago. The musical was composed by Stephen Sondheim and was based upon the book by James Lapine which was a creative spin-off of the lives and tales of the Brothers Grimm. I have always been a lover of fairy tales and had the entire Brothers Grimm collection of stories as a child, so quite naturally, I thought that I would be enthralled by the film even if it was a musical. I lasted about 15minutes before leaving the theater. Shameful, I know. I share this to magnify how difficult it is for me to sit through most musicals as an adult without getting antsy and desperately seeking an exit…until now.
Given the fact that we could all use a little uplifting and Holiday cheer, I decided to bite the bullet and try and endure what I thought would be just another cacophony of musical cinema. Much to my surprise, Jingle Jangle was undoubtedly one of the most delightful displays of diversity, inclusion, and black excellence I have ever seen! Bringing a message of hope and forgiveness, the storyline is just what every little girl and boy needs to evoke some Holiday joy! It is something that can be appreciated by young and old alike. Written and directed by David E. Tolbert, this star-studded and captivating musical will keep you clapping, smiling and tapping your feet the whole entire time! The score was devised by John Debney and up until now I never in a million years would have guessed that Forrest Whitaker, Keegan- Michael Key and Anika Noni Rose were equally talented singers.
Without completely giving away the plot and spoiling it for those who have yet to see it, I cannot begin to emphasize the importance of exposing our children to positive representations of us in theatre and on screen. No detail was left unturned. Everything from the ways in which the cast wore their hair to the subtle splashes of Ankara and Kente cloth that was fused with 19th-century silhouettes to create a magnificent Afro-Victorian themed wardrobe screamed BLACK EXCELLENCE!!! Even if you are not one who celebrates the holidays, or like me, cringe at the thought of endless and corny Christmas caroling, this timeless storyline and captivating cinematic experience is right on time! Jingle Jangle is sure to become an eternal Holiday classic for all of us to enjoy for years to come.