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It can’t be the easiest thing to make a musical about identity politics, let alone a musical about the sociology of victimhood, the necessity of legacy-making, or, um, the parallels between klezmer and the blues. So it’s not too surprising that the African Continuum Theatre Company’s Hubert & Charlie, an ambitious new offering that tries to harmonize all those themes, should be less than entirely successful. Jennifer L. Nelson’s story makes sense enough—the arrival of an alluring but angry woman-with-a-past complicates the relationship between a blues-playing dreamer and his kosher-butcher employer in 1955 Omaha—but the script is flabby, the songs (by Mel Nelson) undifferentiated and shapeless, and the lyrics (a collaborative effort between the two co-creators) downright ungainly. The songs tend to comment on the plot rather than advancing it—which would be awkward even if all three of the cast members were brilliant singers. But Frederick Strother, the able actor playing would-be nightclub owner Hubert, sings with more caution than soul; Joel Snyder, as the retirement-bound boss who might let Hubert take over the shop to launch his juke joint, sings not at all, really. (It’s more a rhythmic speak-shout, and it demonstrates little concern for pitch.) Only Andrea Frierson-Toney, whose pissed-off domestic goddess, Charlie, has a hair-trigger temper to match her hair-raising blues wail, sells her songs with any sense of conviction. But even she can’t make sense of Darryl V. Jones’ lackadaisical direction, which leaves all three performers floundering for things to do while they wait for that repetitious script to develop some momentum. When it does, every now and then, Hubert & Charlie feels as substantial and thoughtful as its authors presumably intended—and then composer Nelson lays the blues on one character or another, and things come crashing to a halt all over again.—Trey Graham