Lincoln Yule log

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  November 24, 2009

Fortunately, emotional heart is supplied by almost continuous music that ranges from traditional carols to Civil War–era ballads to African-American spirituals. It's clear that some of the cast were chosen for their tonsils and others for their thespian chops, and when a singer as commanding as Uzo Aduba or Gilbert Glenn Brown lets loose on "What Child Is This" or "Follow the Drinking Gourd," some of their fellows can sound amateurish. Thank goodness for Jacqui Parker, who brings a stoic humanity to grieving Washington seamstress Elizabeth Keckley and a haunting power to "There Is a Balm in Gilead." Versatility honors, however, go to Ken Cheeseman, who, albeit a lightweight Lincoln, makes a lovably reluctant horse — and switches between stovepipe and bushy tail so fast, you half expect him to gallop away on himself.

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