‘Black Nativity’ keeps tradition as director plans retirement

‘Black Nativity’ keeps tradition as director plans retirement
December 10
00:00 2015
Chronicle File Photo
“Black Nativity” shows the birth of Christ through an all-black cast.



Soulful singing, engaging dialogue and eye-pop-ping choreography were some of the few things the crowd was blessed with Friday, Dec. 4, at the North Carolina Black Repertory Company’s rendition of Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity.”

It has been presented by the N.C. Black Rep as Christmas tradition for the past 16 years.

This will be the last one with Artistic Director Mabel Robinson calling the shots.

At the end of the year, Robinson will be retiring. While she will still be around the facility, she will not be around on a day-in day-out basis.

The show is a musical that illuminates the birth of Christ and showcases an all black cast.  Mabel Robinson, director and choreographer since the inception of the show in 2001, said she likes to change things up every year so that the show does-n’t become stale and uses the cast to elicit new ideas for the show.  She also said that even though many people reprise their roles from last year, she likes to have open auditions to bring new life to the show.

One audience member said she has been coming to the show since 2009 and really appreciates the differences in the music and choreography year after year.

The North Carolina Black Repertory Company was founded in 1979 by Larry Leon Hamlin and was the first professional black theatre company in the state.  Hamlin passed away in June 2007.

The evening started with the cast running down the aisle from the rear of the auditorium to the stage and singing “Hallelu Aye” which excited everyone in the audience from the onset of the show. Throughout the performance, the cast interacted with the audience, which kept everyone engaged.

The performance integrated traditional church hymns, Christmas music, and even forms of popular culture.  Another audience member who came with a group of friends said she would definitely recommend this show to all of her friends and enjoyed it from start to finish.

The musical will continue with performance dates on Dec. 11,12 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 12 and 13 at 3 p.m. Call 336-723-2266 for ticket purchases and more information. Call for ticket availability for the Saturday, Dec. 12, 3 p.m. performance.

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