Philadelphia Christmas spectacle 'Carols In Color' celebrates 30th anniversary

The late founder always wanted the show to be a gift for the Black community.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Christmas spectacle 'Carols In Color' is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Philadelphia. The show tells the story of the miraculous birth of Jesus through song and dance.

Performers are excited to embrace the main stage once again after last year when the show was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Carols In Color is one of the first shows that was created by an African American," said Artistic Director Shawn-Lamere Williams.

The show was created by the founder of the Eleone Dance Theatre, Leon Evans II. Evans passed away in 1998 and asked his mentee, Shawn-Lamere Williams, to carry out his legacy.

Williams took over the company as the artistic director and is thrilled 'Carols In Color' has been able to thrive.

For three decades, the show has been an opportunity for young Black dancers, singers, and musicians. Over the years, several celebrities have appeared, including the award-winning group Boyz II Men.

The late founder always wanted the show to be a gift for the Black community.

"He said one day he went to the Nutcracker, and he felt it wasn't enough of us in the theatre," Williams said.

The show incorporates live music, singing, and dancers who interact with the audience. The performers engage viewers by being in the aisles.

Chrystal Grimes has performed in the show for a decade, but this year is her first time as Mary.

"I've been in the show so long, so to come back as Mary is exciting," she said.

The show ends on a high note with a live baby Jesus. Shawn-Lamere Williams says it is truly a performance for everyone.

"Jesus is love. God is love regardless of what you believe in," he said. "What I want them to take away from this show love."

'Carols In Color' takes place December 18-19 at the Audenreid Charter High School in South Philadelphia.
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