By Press Release Submitted to Published Nov 29, 2021 at 9:57 AM

Black Arts MKE’s show stopping musical will reopen for vaccinated and masked audiences after the long pandemic shutdown. "Black Nativity" by Langston Hughes runs one weekend only – Dec. 9-12, at the Marcus Center's Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall.

Set in Milwaukee instead of Bethlehem, this joyous and hopeful re-telling of Hughes’ original 1961 song-play features poetry, music, and dance of the African diaspora with an all-black, MKE area-based cast.

Director Dimonte Henning, a proud Milwaukee native and well-known actor, brings a fresh post-pandemic perspective, For the Culture. Henning is inspired by the triumphs, and the tragedies of life, and the power in telling stories of the culture and community.

He reminds theatergoers to continue to have faith and celebrate our resiliency.  
"Even when things seem difficult, even when you feel like you're alone, this is a celebration of the fact that we are still here. Even though it's been a difficult year, we still have more to look forward to. We hope that our version of 'Black Nativity' by Langston Hughes will be a light in that darkness for the people of Milwaukee. We're not turning a blind eye to what's happened because we do need that awareness, but we also need some joy and hope." said Henning. 

This year’s production features all new choreography by Milwaukee’s favorite dancer Christopher Gilbert, and new musical arrangements by respected music producer Antoine Reynolds, Sr., and 14 new cast members. Milwaukee favorites returning this year include Michaela Usher, Cynthia Cobb, Brielle Richmond and Shawn Holmes.  

Joining the production, now in its sixth season will be newcomer Erica Brown as Mary and repeat performer Brian Crawford as Joseph. The ensemble showcases emerging talent including Ethan Hightire, Martilia Marechal, Nicole McCarty, Esther O’Brien, Tommy Canvas, Denzel Taylor, Jarvell Williams, and young performers – Terynn ErbyWalker, Maya O’Day-Biddle and Nykolis Reynolds.  

Community Day on Thursday, Dec. 9, will include a MPS Student Matinee and special evening dress rehearsal performance. Youth 18 and under tickets are only $5 and adults $20 per person.    

Black Arts MKE and Black Nativity by Langston Hughes have been generously supported during this especially challenging past year by Bader Philanthropies, BMO Harris Bank, CAMPAC, Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Gruber Law Offices, LLC, Inspiring Our Youth Sponsor Johnson Controls Foundation, Marcus Performing Arts Center, Milwaukee Arts Board, National Endowment for the Arts, PNC Bank, Small Business Administration, The Black Seed, United Performing Arts Fund, We Energies Foundation, Wisconsin Arts Board, Wisconsin Department of Administration, and Wisconsin Humanities.   

Dec. 9-12 (Saturday matinee available)  
Marcus Center Box Office, 929 N. Water St. Call (414) 273-7206
Groups of 10 or more should contact Group Sales at (414) 273-7121, x210.