We all love Holiday recipes right? Here’s one: Take the classic Christmas story. Add one of the most famous playwrights and writers, (Langston Hughes), and high expectations. Now add dancing, stepping and amazing vocals. Stir in gospel, pop and blues music. Sprinkle in soul – the kind that can’t be taught – the kind that performers bear when they give their all on stage. Shake well and place it in the heart of historic Anacostia DC. This is the Theater Alliance’s production of Black Nativity. Enjoy!
Black Nativity is one of those seasonal productions that we would not mind seeing outside of the holiday season; it’s just that good. The Anacostia Playhouse brings new life to Langston Hughes’ legendary narrative and takes the audience on a ride through the biblical Christmas story. Eric Ruffin, director, drives a train of jubilee and takes the audience on a trip from the church to the blues alley and from the street corner to the shepherd field, landing you smack dab in a manger.
For me, there was only one issue; I couldn’t be faithful. I usually have a couple of favorites and Thomascena Nelson grabbed my spirit immediately. Her passion started the show and her vocal talent had all eyes on her. But as the other actors and actresses led different scenes, they all quickly became my new stars.
Others agreed. “We’re friends with the most talented and handsome member of the cast,” said guests Sarah and Linda, laughing. They shared how although they were not sure of what to expect, they were pleasantly surprised. “It’s just so all encompassing. With Christmas you think of the quiet hymns, but this is so lively while also staying so true to the foundation of the Biblical story.”
At a time where the Nation’s Capital is a melting pot of evolving racial tension, Black Nativity exalts the black experience through common values of peace, love and giving. Appropriate for all ages, backgrounds and cultures, the performance is a welcomed reminder of everyday giving.
There’s still time to catch it. So come all ye faithful – joyful and triumphant. Come.
Today, I’m thankful for language of music!