Night & Day Archives » Night & Day

The Reason for the Season in Song

by

comment
Langston Hughes deemed Black Nativity his “gospel song play.” Act one is indeed all of those things, a soaring and gorgeous retelling of the birth of Christ that emphasizes the humanity of the people who witnessed the event. Director Ron Himes and Musical Director Diane White-Clayton mix American and African folk songs with traditional religious music (and one well-placed rap song) to fulfill Hughes’ vision of a new, fully integrated black art form. Brilliant costuming by Reggie Ray and clockwork choreography by Keith Tyrone add visual punch to fantastic performances from Herman Gordon as the singing Joseph and the ethereal Heather Beal as the dancing Mary. Act two has a modern gospel church setting, and while the performances are still powerful and moving, the sense of story is minimal. This is a traditional praise performance, brimming with reverence and passionate singing, but lacking the narrative and inventiveness of the first half. That magnificent first act is more than worth the price of admission, however. Presented by the Black Rep at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; 314-534-3810 or www.theblackrep.org) through December 27 (no performances on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day). Tickets are $17 to $33.
Thursdays-Sundays; Dec. 26-27. Starts: Nov. 27. Continues through Dec. 20, 2009

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.