Ultimately. Black Nativity, now playing at Theater Alliance, is one of the more memorable performances that I have attended. Upon entering the facility, guests were able to stand in the waiting area where they were greeted with friendly faces, complimentary refreshments and drinks.
We watched the group work beautifully together in their rhyme and rhythm as they told the story of the birth of Jesus.
At 8pm the doors opened and we walked in the intimate, yet spacious theatre where we were greeted by a member from Theater Alliance that provided information about the company, history of the play, thanked supporters, and gave a brief overview on ways we can get involved. I thought it added a very nice touch to the experience and done in a way that didn’t seem overbearing or to “advertisy.”
Throughout the first half, the cast dressed in beautiful African attire where they sang and danced around a man and woman representing Mary and Joseph. We watched the group work beautifully together in their rhyme and rhythm as they told the story of the birth of Jesus.
My friends and I couldn’t stop singing and dancing to songs like “Joy to the World,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and “Oh Come Let Us Adore Him.” We even cracked up at a scene called No-Good Shepherd Boy where Roy Patten Jr. played a hilariously lazy shepherd while the other Shepherds, (Jason Johnson, Marquis D. Gibson, Elton Pittman and Addison Switzer) mesmerized the audience with a creative rhyme and dance.
The second half of the performance focused on the today’s culture from an African-American perspective. There wasn’t really a skit to the second half, other than beautiful choreographed music in a church like setting. Iconic songs like “Take Me Back” and “He Reigns” kept the audience engaged. Roy Patten Jr. engaged the audience with his very beautiful and unique gift of song. Thomascena Nelson nearly brought me to tears in one of her performances. Her voice was steady and strong. One of my favorite performances came from Krislynn Perry. She could not only sing, but she would often break into shout as she sang. Anyone with Pentecostal or Baptist background would appreciate the variety.
I appreciated the cast for giving me and my friends a night to enjoy.
Langston Hughes first premiered Black Nativity at New York City’s Lincoln Theatre in December 1961. For this D.C. performance, director Eric Ruffin captures African-American culture at its best.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission.
Black Nativity runs through January 4, 2015 at the Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place Southeast, Washington, D.C. 20020. Tickets are available online and run $35. Discounts are available to seniors, students and children under 12.