Mu Performing Arts’ annual holiday tradition, A Very Asian Xmas, gets a Parisian twist this year, as artistic director Randy Reyes’ alter-ego, Jasmine, falls in love with the City of Lights. Now in its sixth year, the show acts as a fundraiser for Mu, complete with food, drink, and a cast of fun characters who offer an amusing twist to holiday festivities.
Reyes visited Paris for the first time in October, spending 10 transformative days in the city, including celebrating his birthday at the Moulin Rouge. “I fell in love with it,” he says. When he got back to the States, he decided that he wanted to make this year’s seasonal production about how Jasmine has gone to Paris and decided to move there.
The concept had already been set when Paris was attacked by terrorists. “It was really traumatic news, having just been there and experiencing that lifestyle,” Reyes says. “It was devastating.” Rather than changing the theme, he decided to make the show a tribute to Paris and all of the other cities that have suffered attacks.
Six years ago A Very Asian Xmas kicked off as a cabaret at Jasmine 26, which is where Reyes’s character got its name. “It started because Mu didn’t have a holiday show,” Reyes says. Since then, the event has expanded, taking place at the Southern Theater. However, Jasmine retains her innocent charm.
“Jasmine has always been very well meaning, and maybe not the smartest person in the world,” Reyes says. “She believes in glamour and royalty, and every year she has a revelation about life. She’s always learning.”
This year, Jasmine falls in love with all the curious things about Paris. Despite not speaking the language or understanding the customs, she wants to live there. In fact, Jasmine believes that she can be in the Moulin Rouge.
Each of the characters in the show say goodbye to her. For instance, there’s a character named Jan, who wears a gaudy Christmas sweater, who’s “kind of a Christmas nerd,” Reyes says. There’s also a politician in the show, plus a love interest, played by Sherwin Resurreccion, that Jasmine met on a dating site.
In addition to acting in the show, Resurreccion also contributes to the evening by providing French pastries from his food truck, Fanfare Global Eats. There’s also food from the Tea House Chinese Restaurant, and tickets to the show get you two drink tickets.
IF YOU GO:
7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 2 p.m. Sunday