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Black Nativity 2023: Milwaukee’s revamped Langston Hughes Classic returns

todayOctober 25, 2023

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In the heart of Milwaukee, a cherished holiday tradition is poised to make its triumphant return, but with a fresh and audacious spin. Black Arts MKE is set to present its eighth installment of “Black Nativity” by Langston Hughes, a musical that has resonated across generations since its 1961 premiere. This year, the show promises a stirring amalgamation of the old and the new, with an all-Black cast that embodies the spirit of both Bethlehem and contemporary Milwaukee.

For those eager for a sneak peek, a teaser trailer is available. And if your anticipation can’t be contained, tickets will go on sale this Friday at noon.

A New Vision with Deep Roots

Under the insightful direction of Milwaukee’s own Ashley Jordan and the artistic genius of Wanyah Frazier, the 2023 rendition of Black Nativity is set to be more than just a musical; it’s a celebration of the Black family, both its history and its future. Drawing from a rich tapestry of artistic influences, the duo has incorporated elements reminiscent of iconic productions such as The Wiz, and has paid homage to legendary figures like Alvin Ailey, a luminary from Hughes’ original cast.

Debrasha Greye, an internationally acclaimed dancer and teacher, will guide the choreography, promising sequences that are both vibrant and emotionally profound. Antoine Reynolds, a respected music producer, is back for his seventh year, and will lead a full live band complemented by the dynamic drummers from Drums Up Guns Down 414. The artistic ensemble also includes spoken word artist Denzel Taylor, and costume stylists Kyndal Johnson and Vato Vergara, who are committed to designs that truly capture the essence of the afro-centric diaspora. And the set? It promises to transport audiences between the ancient streets of Bethlehem and the modern ambiance of Milwaukee.

Director Ashley Jordan shares her enthusiasm: “Black Nativity 2023 is not just about historical reflection but is also a mirror to today’s world. It’s about righteousness, redemption, and the rich oral traditions of the African diaspora.”

Artistic Director Wanyah Frazier adds, “We’re taking audiences on a heartwarming journey of family, faith, and new traditions. Black Nativity is a beacon of Black creativity, and as Milwaukee undergoes its own renaissance, we aim to offer a culturally rich, intergenerational arts experience.”

The Ensemble & Support

This year’s ensemble boasts a talented array of artists including Christian Adams, Tabitha Andrews, Amber Gray, Martin Da’Costa, Denzel Taylor, and many more.

Generous support for this production comes from esteemed institutions like BMO Harris Bank, Johnson Controls Foundation, and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, to name just a few.

Showtimes and Accessibility

The show will run from December 7th to December 10th, 2023, at the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, Marcus Center, with various performance times. For those in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, a special ASL Interpreted Performance will be held on Saturday, December 9th, 2023, at 2:00 p.m.

For a season that celebrates unity, family, and the shared experiences of the African diaspora, Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a must-see. With its blend of timeless storytelling and modern creativity, audiences are in for an unforgettable experience.

TICKETS ON SALE Friday, October 27 at Noon

December 7-10, 2023


Community Night $25


Written by: HYFIN

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Get your tickets now for just $10 in advance or $15 at the door and join us at 220 East Pittsburgh on May 10th.