Sankofa African American Theater Company, a professional regional theater company located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, announces its first annual production of BLACK NATIVITY, a gospel play, written by renowned American poet and playwright Langston Hughes with music arranged by Aaron Robinson and other musical arrangements by Cheryl Hawkins.
Performances will take place at the West Shore Theater in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania on December 9, 10 and 11, 2022, with performances Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. A discussion of the play led by Valerie Gray, an English teacher at Harrisburg Area Community College will follow each performance. For tickets to BLACK NATIVITY, visit www.sankofatheatrehbg.com.
BLACK NATIVITY, a retelling of the Nativity story of Christianity, is an expression of playwright Hughes’ interest in African-American spirituality and the oral traditions of the African-American church. The Christmas story is set to jubilant gospel music that incorporates spirituals and folk songs with dramatic dance and biblical storytelling. Robinson and Hawkins’ musical arrangements blend traditional songs and chants with music created specifically for the show to form a true celebration of gospel music.
BLACK NATIVITY has become a seasonal tradition since its first Broadway production at the 41st Street Theater in 1961 with music arranged by its stars Marion Williams and Alex Bradford. The production was invited to make its European debut at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy to launch its successful tour of Europe, Australia and the United States from 1962 to 1964. BLACK NATIVITY returned to New York for a tour at the Philharmonic Lincoln Hall. Center. Langston Hughes’ self-proclaimed “gospel musical” is one of the first plays written by an African American to be staged in New York.
BLACK NATIVITY is led by Sankofa Executive Artistic Director Sharia Benn. I’m thrilled to bring Sankofa’s first production of Black Nativity to the West Shore Theatre. This production pays homage to the timeless work of Langston Hughes’ groundbreaking play that presents the Nativity story from an African-American perspective through a combination of storytelling, dance, spirituals, traditional chants and music. contemporary gospel, says Benn.
BLACK NATIVITY is produced by special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing Service of Woodstock, IL.