Langston Hughes ‘Black Nativity’ Comes to Atlanta


A world that has been fragmented over the years in terms of discrimination seems to have finally found a string that unifies them with the constituent of humanity and that being, the play of “Black Nativity” whose new home is now, justifiably Boston.

This creation of Langston Hughes was first staged in 961, and soon after the primary performance, it was moved to the U.S. and several other cities before finally landing in its present abode.

Before we get into delineating any other details about the play, let us give you an insight into the distinct notches of the composition. This is a one-act show and the first scene opens on a Christmas day at an African-American church which is hosting a group of holy ladies, testifying deacons and down-home preaching.

This performance takes the audience back to a time in Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph dressed in traditional African costumes and the air filled with songs of praise and worship of the Lord that are devised by Dawn Axam and time-honored spirituals.

Black Nativity was indeed Hughes’s masterstroke; from its musical arrangement that comprises of singing, dancing poetry and the Gospel of St. Luke to its presentation in which every intricate detail is attended with sheer perfection, this story is on the way of celebrating its 49th season supported by the production at the Emerson Paramount Center. The most intriguing part about this season lies in the fact that it will be presented by the National Center of Afro-American Artists who apart from being experts in their own respective fields, are great representatives of the raw culture that is being portrayed on the stage.

The National Center of Afro-American Artists is essentially a private non-profit organization that was initiated by the efforts of late Emma Lewis and 50 years after its first production in Boston in 1970, the “Black Nativity” has been refurbished in all its glory.

The specialty of this year surfaced itself when the executive producer and director Voncille Ross assured to bring a band of total 75 singers, dancers and musicians and a performance packed with a vision of the new tomorrow, the honor of the past and jubilation.

The basic idea is of all-inclusivity where the motives are served to the audience in a way that knits all the superior constituents of mankind from the past and the present alike. Right after the prologue of the play is read out, the theater is adorned with variable lights and sound that enhance the appeal and the subject that is being conveyed.

Another noticeable pointer in the play is that most of its performers are barefoot and garbed in white robes, a typical symbol of the bygone age. Also, the play carries some elements of the proscenium theater because the actors enter through the audience carrying electric candles in hand and are stunningly led by L. Buddy Hughes humming the tunes of the classic hymn “Go Tell It On The Mountain”.

Therefore, we can safely conclude that witnessing a show of the “Black Natives” would inevitably be a life-changing experience as the whole setting has a series of hidden treasures embedded in each layer that can be discovered only as the story unfolds.



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