By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Oct 25, 2023 at 5:01 AM

Black Arts MKE's holiday tradition, "Black Nativity," continues in Downtown Milwaukee with a a new vision.

Written by the legendary Langston Hughes, "Black Nativity" will grace the stage for one weekend from Thursday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 10. The performances will take place in the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall, 121 E. State St.

This refreshed and enhanced retelling of Hughes’ timeless 1961 play shares the story of the Nativity from the African American perspective. It is set in both Bethlehem and present-day Milwaukee and an all-Black, local cast perform powerful African diaspora poetry, music and dance.

This year's rendition welcomes Ashley Jordan as the show's new director along with a new artistic director, Wanyah Frazier. They went through extensive historical research and drew inspiration from a multitude of  historical and contemporary artistic influences – including Alvin Ailey who was part of Hughes’ original cast – to breathe new life into the show. 

“Black Nativity 2023 shifts in dynamic energy, relevance and also a dichotomy of righteousness, redemption and oral tradition," says Jordan. "It is an anchor in the community and to those who experience cultural variations of the African, and African American diaspora.”  

Tickets go on sale Friday, Oct. 27. To get tickets to Black Nativity, go here.

The 2023 show includes returning cast favorites Raven Dockery and Denzel Taylor along with music producer Antoine Reynolds and costume designers Kyndal Johnson and Varo Vergaro.

"Black Nativity represents a reclamation of the Black narrative and a staple of the Black creative culture," says Frazier. "We have the opportunity to create a rendition of  Black Nativity that provides an intergenerational, culturally expansive and professional arts experience.” 

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.