Caroline Yang


Black Nativity

Every Thu., Fri., Sat., and Sun. from Nov. 30-Dec. 23
7:30 p.m.
Every Sat. from Nov. 30-Dec. 23
2 p.m.
Every Sun. from Nov. 30-Dec. 24
4 p.m.
Holiday, Theater

Lou Bellamy won’t be narrating Black Nativity this year—but it’s not because he’s slowing down. “It has to do primarily with The Wiz, because I’ll be in rehearsal for that,” says Bellamy, referring to an upcoming co-production with the Children’s Theatre Company. Bellamy has recently passed the position of Penumbra Theatre artistic director on to his daughter Sarah Bellamy, but the founding father is still directingBlack Nativity, and he plans to stay the course he’s followed in recent years’ productions. Setting aside some of the flourishes that characterized earlier versions of the gospel show, which Penumbra has been staging for three decades, Bellamy has returned Black Nativity to its roots as the simple, devout, and joyous African-American Nativity celebration Langston Hughes debuted in 1961. “People love it,” says Bellamy. “It’s a wonderful story, and it’s one of the few shows around Christmastime that celebrates what Christmas is about.” In addition to narration by Jennifer Whitlock, Bellamy says, attendees can expect to see and hear beloved local talents including Greta Oglesby, Dennis Spears, and Yolande Bruce, with musical director Sanford Moore and choreographer Uri Sands. “That story hasn’t changed in a few thousand years,” chuckles Bellamy, emphasizing the value of tradition. “It is something that many Twin Cities families mark their celebration by.