BLACK NATIVITY By Langston Hughes Celebrates 5th Anniversary At Marcus Center's Wilson Theater

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Black Nativity by Langston Hughes will run December 5-15 with a special Community Night preview performance on Thursday, December 5 at the Marcus Center's Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall.

Directed by returning phenom Antoine Reynolds for the first time this year, the production features his knockout crowd-pleasing musical arrangements. Reynolds explains, "The music is inspired by the emotional journey Mary and Joseph had to endure while bringing the savior into the world. As glorious as the occasion was, the endurance throughout the turmoil surrounding the process speaks to the resiliency and determination that comes with being called by God. The arrangements of the music in this production are designed to take you on that journey."

The production features fresh new choreography by Christopher Gilbert returning for his second year. Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a Black Arts MKE production in collaboration with the Marcus Performing Arts Center. This year's presentation is supported by Bader Philanthropies, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Johnson Controls Foundation, and United Performing Arts Fund

Some of Milwaukee's favorite performers return this year as well as some joining Black Nativity by Langston Hughes for the first time. Brielle Richmond a recent graduate of Marquette University and a former Black Nativity by Langston Hughes intern, joins the cast as Mary. New to the cast, Joey Jackson-Streeter takes on the role of Joseph. Returning cast members include Tasha McCoy, Cynthia Cobb (Skylight Theater's Porgy and Bess, Gershwin and Friends, Ain't Misbehavin', sings the show stopping number "Rise Up Shepherd" as the Angel of the Lord), Michaela Usher, Raven Dockery, Brandite Reed and youth ensemble members Clara Adams, Zephaniah Singh Ponder, Carolyn Stampley and Naima Gaines. Additional new members include Alesia Miller, Brian Crawford, and youth ensemble members Zion Singh Ponder and Zoe Chambers.

We're celebrating our fifth year and the West African concept of "Sankofa" - looking back over the last five years to bring Black Nativity 2.0 into the future in order to make positive progress, says Barbara Wanzo, Executive Producer. Black Nativity by Langston Hughes will continue to address important social issues. Each year, we welcome more than 1,200 youth from city neighborhood schools thanks to our Inspiring Our Youth sponsor Johnson Controls Foundation. This year, we hope everyone will come to experience the joy and magic of the holidays by celebrating this fabulous cultural musical gift to the community.

"The Marcus Performing Arts Center understands the importance of African American arts in our community for the ENTIRE community" says Paul Mathews. Mathews, President and CEO of the Marcus Center. "As the community's performing arts center, we strive for inclusiveness. It is our vision at the Marcus Center to provide the setting for outstanding arts experiences like Black Nativity by Langston Hughes for all of Milwaukee's cultures."

Black Nativity by Langston Hughes opens Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 15. Special pricing will be available for Community Night on December 5. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 North Water Street, Downtown Milwaukee, by phone at 414-273-7206 or online at https://www.marcuscenter.org/show/black-nativity-2018/ or Ticketmaster.com. Groups of 10 or more should call Group Sales at 414-273-7121, x210 or x213. Special church group pricing is also available. For more information, visit MarcusCenter.org.

Black Arts MKE's mission is to increase the availability and quality of African American arts. Each year, we collaborate with over 100 local artists and arts organizations to bring to our community renowned and original performance arts works by African American authors, playwrights, poets, musicians, and composers. Our arts education and community outreach programs serve over 15,000 at-risk youth and their families including our new Youth Performing Arts Summer Camp. Black Arts MKE's annual signature performance - Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a new holiday musical favorite in Milwaukee featuring an all-black, all local cast. Black Arts MKE is a proud Affiliate Member of United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) and Resident Group at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Black Arts MKE is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.



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