Monday, December 3, 2018

Eric Conway: Opening night (matinee) of Theatre Morgan's Black Nativity

Dr. Eric Conway wrote on Dec. 2, 2018:

Opening performance of Theatre Morgan’s Black Nativity:

Earlier today, Theatre Morgan presented their first performance of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity. Typically opening nights are during the evening, but this first performance was a Sunday matinee.  For this first performance, Turpin Lamb Theatre had a very full house!

Black Nativity is a musical with a script by African-American poet/playwright Langston Hughes.  Every production of Black Nativity is different.  The show consists of an actual script with contemporary Christmas music to support the script, which means every production will be different based on the musical tastes of the director.  Theatre Morgan has produced Black Nativity many times over the years, and every production has been different.  This year’s production is especially different because newly hired Theatre Arts faculty member Reggie Phoenix is the director, making his Morgan debut.  Theatre Morgan actors portrayed the story of the Nativity in convincing fashion.

All the performances of Black Nativity that I have attended have always jumpstarted my Christmas holiday, and today’s performance was no different. Theatre Morgan students sang with sincerity of belief in the story of the birth of Christ.  The set, although minimalist, was very effective.  The first half of the musical takes place over 2,000 years ago during the birth of Christ Jesus.  The second half takes place in the present day described as “here and now”.  The contemporary scene took place in a church where there was a preacher asking us to consider the season and what it means to us today.  

If you get a chance, you should try to attend.  The entire show is under ninety minutes with intermission and succinctly tells the Christmas story with an African-American flair.  See attached a few pics from the performance, as well as a few links to short clips from the show to entice you to attend.  The run of the show is over on next Saturday, so do not delay if you want to see the show.  


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