Black Theatre Troupe’s Black Nativity Opens Friday

BTT-NativityStory and photo by Durant Communictions

Black Nativity, one of the most renowned musicals of the holiday season, returns to Black Theatre Troupe December 4 – 20.

Black Nativity is a celebration that tells the original story of the nativity in scripture, verse, music and dance. Based on the Gospel of St. Luke and combined with the poetry of the legendary Langston Hughes, this gospel musical touches a special chord in the hearts of all during this holiday season.

Writer Langston Hughes referred to the show as a “Gospel Song-Play.” Black Nativity was first produced in December 1961 at New York’s 41st Street Theatre. Hughes wrote an eight-page script around a series of traditional gospel songs.

Upon its premiere, it became and has remained an international success. After its New York debut, the show ran at President Kennedy’s International Jazz Festival and then lauded at the Festival of Two Worlds at Spoleto, Italy.

The New York Times reported that the “sophisticated Italian audiences greeted Black Nativity with enthusiasm, taking part in the singing and hand clapping and insisting on curtain call after curtain call.” The Rome newspaper Il Tempo added, “The elegant festival public appeared to have forgotten itself, lost in this rhythmic wave that overwhelmed it, an integral part itself that bound stage and auditorium in a mystical fusion.”

Black Nativity is directed by Walter Belcher with choreography by Kenyata White, musical direction by Anthony Cowan and musical supervision by Jennifer Robinson.

Tickets are available at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center box office at 1333 E. Washington St. in Phoenix, 85034 (602-258-8129) and online at blacktheatretroupe.

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