‘Black Nativity’

In the midst of the holiday season, Florida A&M’s Essential Theatre will present “Black Nativity” on Wednesday through Sunday at Charles Winter Wood Theatre.

The celebrated gospel play by Langston Hughes has created buzz in theaters this Thanksgiving season. With the release of the new movie, “Black Nativity,” the Essential Theatre is giving its audience a musical version of the 1961 play.

However, Kimberly Harding, an associate theater professor at FAMU, feels viewers should come to the show with an open mind.

“The audience should not come expecting the same thing from the movie to be featured in the play,” Harding said.  

“Black Nativity” retells the story of Jesus’ birth with a full African-American cast. The Christmas-themed play features a variety of Christmas carols in a gospel format.

Michelle Robinson, director and choreographer of “Black Nativity” who also contributed to choreography in the film, said she wanted to bring African culture to the stage.

“The audience will experience African culture in a musical platform,” Robinson said. “I took what I learned artistically from the film and incorporated it into the stage play.”

Robinson’s direction and choreography resonated well with Jase Lindsey, a freshman theater student from Tallahassee and “Black Nativity” ensemble member.

“She allowed us as performers to be ourselves,” Lindsey said. “When she taught us African dance, rehearsals always felt like the spirit of Broadway. “This is a high-spirited holiday song-play that will bring tears of joy.”

Preview performances will begin Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. General admission is $20 for adults, $15 for senior citizens and $5 for FAMU students with I.D.