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Jamal's Special Christmas Gift

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This holiday season will be the first that Tony Felix spends without his father, Tommie Felix, an NOPD officer who died in May. The 13-year-old actor stars in Jamal's Special Christmas Gift, a hip-hop-infused play that mirrors some of his experiences — focusing on a youngster who struggles with life and death during a Christmas without his father. "I wanted a story about a young man who curses God, but then finds enlightenment," says writer/director Anthony Bean, who conceived the show last year. After Felix's tragedy, Bean decided to incorporate both more of the young actor's life and more music. The play follows Jamal's grieving process as he relates to family and peers, but there also are holiday musical and dance numbers featuring the rest of the large cast. Felix has appeared in many productions at the Bean Community Theater since he was 6 years old and appeared in the TV show K-Ville. Bean says Felix has ably handled the challenges of the unique situation. "He is still grappling with those emotions, but he is taking that energy and using it on stage. He is just brilliant." Tickets $18 general admission, $14 students/seniors. — Bryan Davis

8 p.m. Fri.-Sun., Dec. 5-7; 3 p.m. Sat., Dec. 6; through Dec. 20

Anthony Bean Community Theater, 1333 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-7529; www.anthonybeantheater.com

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