8th Annual Black Nativity by Langston Hughes 2023
ELEVATING BLACK NATIVITY
Black Nativity by Langston Hughes returns for its 8th Annual Holiday Musical Production, December 7-10, in Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall. Hughes’ joyous holiday musical is a testament to his timeless work, telling the story of the Nativity through a combination of scripture, poetry, dance and song from the African-American perspective.
Each year, Black Arts MKE showcases MKE-based professionals and emerging theater talent. We provide new opportunities for next-gen artists to display their artistic skills and work alongside the Marcus Performing Arts Center’s seasoned backstage professionals. This year’s youth internships include talented production/lighting assistant Sienna Clark from Nicolet High School and returning Black Nativity cast member and intern, Tabitha Andrews as an ensemble understudy from Pius XI High School.
This year’s all-new Black Nativity production is led by Artistic Director Wayah Leon Frazier and features a new familial take on Hughes’ song play by emerging artist and first-year Black Nativity Director Ashley S. Jordan. Choreography is led by international professional dancer and teaching artist Debrasha Greye, along with returning veteran Music Director Antoine Reynolds.
Black Nativity by Langston Hughes 2023 is generously supported by BMO Harris Bank, Bader Philanthropies, Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Gruber Law Offices, Harri Hoffmann Family Foundation, Herzfeld Foundation, Johnson Controls Foundation, Old National Bank, PNC Bank, and Yip Harburg Foundation.
Stick around after the show for a post-show talkback with some of the cast!
Community Night – December 7, 2023 @ 7:30 PM:
Tickets for the Community Night performance are $25. Please call or visit the MPAC Box Office to purchase.
Box Office Hours –
Phone (414.273.7206): M-F, 10 AM – 4 PM
Windows: M-F, Noon – 4 PM
Christian Adams, Tabitha Andrews, Nathan Berry, Zoe Chambers, Nakyah Collier, Amari DeBerry, Raven Dockery, Dos Feurtado, Amber Gray, Sanaiah Hibbler, Johnathyn Kerkenbush, Ella Lakey, Matthew Lewis, Jasmine Love, Martin Da’Costa, Tyler Reynolds, Nyk Reynolds, Derrick Sanders, Melesha Spears, D’Shaunta Stewart, Denzel Taylor, Malinda-Christine Tillman, William Toney
Wanyah L. Frazier
“Creatively Black Nativity will take audiences on a heartwarming journey of familial love, faith, and the creation of new family traditions and norms. Audiences will be inspired by relatable, but current family stories, a home reminiscent of Christmas, and entranced by a dreamlike vision of Bethlehem. Black Nativity represents a reclamation of the Black narrative and a staple of the Black creative culture. As we move into a period of ‘Renaissance’ in Milwaukee’s creative environment, we have the opportunity to create a rendition of Black Nativity that provides an intergenerational, culturally expansive and professional arts experience.”
Ashley S. Jordan
“As a new director, I want to introduce multiple artistic influences throughout the world of today with Black traditions and iconic moments throughout the history of Black Nativity performances. Black Nativity 2023 shifts in dynamic energy, relevance and also a dichotomy of righteousness, redemption, and oral tradition. Black Nativity is an anchor in the community and to those who experience cultural variations of the African, and African American diaspora.”
About Black Arts MKE
Black Arts MKE’s mission is to increase the availability and quality of African American arts and culture. We’re a Black-led performing arts organization who serves predominantly Black communities. We produce, present, and/or commission new performance arts works including classic works, readings, conversations, and festivals, as well as Black-led institutions focused on Black audience development, all rooted in the full diversity, complexity, and intersectionality of the Black Experience.