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Black Nativity 

It's not just a Christmas tale, but a celebration of music

Wednesday, Dec 5 2001
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If Dickens' didactic tale of goodwill and repentance is not your cup of eggnog, you may want to snag yourself a ticket to the Lorraine Hansberry Theater's rendition of Black Nativity. A gospel play that came out of the Harlem Renaissance, Nativity was written by the late African-American legend Langston Hughes and features the deep, rich tones of Eddie Hall, the inspiring range of Sherral Dailey, and the vocal powerhouse prowess of Arvis Strickling Jones. Part retelling of the traditional story of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and part modern-day gospel church service, Nativity is more than a Christmas tale -- it's truly a celebration of music. A local gospel diva in her own right, Jones composed much of the first act, including the humorous ditty "No Good (Jive-Talkin') Shepherd Boy" and the soulful "Go Tell It on the Mountain." While the dancing is somewhat amateurish (reminiscent, at times, of a high school pageant), the lofty caliber of the singing never wanes. Now in its fourth year on the Lorraine Hansberry Christmastime bill, Nativity feels religious on the surface, but at its heart it's more about the human spirit than anything else. When the lively preacher, Abbie Rhone, sings of repairing the "Leak in the Building," he's not talking about God -- he's suggesting we examine ourselves. That's an idea just about everyone can take home.

About The Author

Karen Macklin

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