‘Black Nativity by Langston Hughes’ returns to kick off holiday season in Milwaukee

November 17, 2022

Black Arts MKE’s beloved holiday musical returns for its seventh year with its biggest and best production to date. Black Nativity by Langston Hughes runs one weekend only – December 8-11, 2022, at the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, Marcus Center. Set in Milwaukee rather than Bethlehem, this joyous and hopeful re-telling of Hughes’ original 1961 play incorporates poetry, music, and dance from the African diaspora with an all-black, Milwaukee area-based cast.

Directed for the second year by Dimonte Henning, this year’s production delivers a fresh and inspiring take on the original musical. Henning’s newest rendition encourages theatergoers to continue to have faith and celebrate resiliency.

“This play is about triumph over tragedy. Black people in Milwaukee have had to overcome a lot, especially in the past two years, but we are still here and persevere because of the birth of Jesus Christ, and that is something to celebrate!” said Henning. “The message is love. Love for ourselves, for our neighbor, and for our culture. If you come this year, you’ll see that on full display through the joyful and healing power of Milwaukee’s black art community. I’m not going to lie, you may cry some cathartic tears, but you’ll also be dancing and singing in the aisles.”

The creative team behind Black Nativity by Langston Hughes continues to elevate the production in music, dance, costuming, and set design. This year, professional dancers Dos Feurtado and Ella Lakey collaborate with returning seasoned choreographer Christopher Gilbert to create new, jaw-dropping performances. Respected music producer Antoine Reynolds returns for his sixth year with new hip-hop arrangements and a stage setup to better showcase his fellow musicians. Costume stylists Kyndal Johnson and Vato Vergara are evolving their costume design to lean more into the afro-centric diaspora. Stage design will also grow to incorporate architectural pieces representing different parts of the city, in addition to new technical elements. Lastly, well-known spoken word performer Cedric Dale Hoard will start each act with a cypher highlighting the journey of Joseph and Mary and the black experience in Milwaukee.

The 2022 version of Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is sure to be an exhilarating and uplifting experience for everyone that attends. That is due, in part, to the environment created by Black Arts MKE. Black actors and creators participating in their productions attest to the welcoming, family-like atmosphere that allows for authentic artistic expression.

“Through my first time performing in Black Nativity, a different part of myself came out,” said Terynn Erby- Walker, actress and Golda Meir High School student, “I never really let my ‘black self ’ out completely before. Black Arts MKE helped me feel comfortable in myself. They’re like family. I can be unapologetically black! It’s a very empowering experience.”

Black Nativity By Langston Hughes 2022 ensemble includes:

Erica Cherie, Cynthia Cobb, Brian Crawford, Brielle Richmond, Denzel Taylor, Brandite Reed, Jomoni Haynes, Ella Lakey, Nathan Berry, Dos Feurtado, Cedric Dale Hoard, Kobe Brown, Terynn Erby-Walker, Maya O’Day-Biddle, Nykolis Reynolds, Zoe Chamber, Jaliyah Drake, Christian Williams-Henning, Tyler Reynolds, Skie-Loe Meadows Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is generously supported by BMO Harris Bank, Bader Philanthropies, Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Herzfeld Foundation, Johnson Controls Foundation, Old National Bank, PNC Bank, We Energies Foundation, Yip Harburg Foundation, and Arts Midwest. Community Night returns on Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 7:30 p.m., with a special evening dress rehearsal performance and discounted tickets. Youth 18 and under tickets are only $10 and adults $25 per person.

Tickets on sale now
marcuscenter.org/show/black-nativity-langston-hughes
December 8-11, 2022
$45.50 | RESERVED SEATING
Community Night $25 adults | $10 18 & Under
Marcus Center Box Office,
929 N. Water St.,
Milwaukee, WI,
Call 414-273-7206
Groups of 10 or more should contact Group Sales at 414-273-7121, x210