By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Oct 19, 2022 at 4:01 PM

Black Arts MKE’s "Black Nativity" by Langston Hughes returns for its seventh year for one weekend only, Dec. 8-11. The show will take place at the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall inside the Marcus Center.

Set in Milwaukee rather than Bethlehem, this hopeful re-telling of Hughes’ original 1961 play incorporates poetry, music and dance from the African diaspora with an all-Black, local 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!” says 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.”

This year, professional dancers Dos Feurtado and Ella Lakey collaborate with returning seasoned choreographer Christopher Gilbert to create new performances. 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 evolved their costume design to lean more into the afro-centric diaspora.

 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.

“Through my first time performing in Black Nativity, a different part of myself came out,” says 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 is 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, Dec. 8 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. 

Get tickets to "Black Nativity" here

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.