Westcoast Black Theatre Troupes Presents Black Nativity

Arts & Culture

Pictured: The Archangel (Stephanie Zandra), Joseph (Raleigh Mosely II) and Mary (Maicy Powell). Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

With previews beginning on November 30th and opening night occurring on December 3rd, you can catch the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s production of Black Nativity, based upon the novel from renowned poet Langston Hughes. The production, which was first performed off-Broadway in 1961 and was made into a 2013 film of the same name, follows the traditional nativity story, replete with gospel and blues versions of classic Christmas carols that are paired with excerpts of Hughes’ poetry.

Black Nativity is a historic, classic show that’s typically presented by the black theater. Just like various traditional christmas productions such as The Nutcracker and Hallelujah Chorus, Langston Hughes wanted to create an afro-centric retelling of the nativity story from the African American perspective using a lot of his poetry, biblical scripture, and dance,” says Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and director of this year’s production. “Since the mid 1950s black theater institutions have incorporated the production into their repertoire. Our patrons love Black Nativity, it has become a true favorite at this institution, every year we bring together new singers and dancers and try to keep this traditional legacy alive.”

While this year will mark the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s fourth production of Black Nativity, having had sold-out runs in 2014, 2016, and 2018, it will be the first time that it’s performed on their renovated Donnelly Stage. “It’s a stunning and beautiful theater that seats 200 people, a real miracle come true. We purchased the building some years ago and through a capital campaign we can attack each production with a new level of professionalism,” says Jacobs. “We have professional seating, a small-fly system, professional stage manager and sound tech booths, in addition to a second floor orchestra pit and a wonderful costume department.”

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 N Orange Ave, Sarasota, 941-366-1505.

Pictured: The Archangel (Stephanie Zandra), Joseph (Raleigh Mosely II) and Mary (Maicy Powell). Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

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