Langston Hughes’ ‘Black Nativity’ set for Basie Center return Dec. 30

Dunbar Repertory Company presents the renowned Gospel-inspired
story of the Nativity; tickets on sale now at

Black Nativity
A scene from Dunbar Repertory’s Black Nativity

(RED BANK – DECEMBER 7) Black Nativity, author and poet Langston Hughes’ Gospel-inspired interpretation of the Gospel Of Luke and the birth of Jesus Christ, returns to the historic Riker Family Stage at the Count Basie Center on Saturday, December 30. Tickets, priced between $15 and $27, are on sale now through, the Count Basie Center box office at 99 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, and through all Ticketmaster outlets and

Produced by regional theatre company Dunbar Repertory and directed by Dunbar founder and Count Basie Center trustee Darrell Lawrence Willis, Sr., Black Nativity is the story of Christ’s birth told from a Black perspective. The original production debuted off-Broadway in 1961 and has continued to showcase Black actors, artforms and repertory ever since, with productions across the country incorporating contemporary dance, hip-hop and musical arrangements to keep the story updated and relevant for current times.

“Langston Hughes was commissioned to write Black Nativity as an interpretation of the Christ story from the black perspective,” said Willis. “In the years and countless productions since, we have seen everything from gospel to hip-hop and spoken word enter the stage. These elements, placed against the Nativity story and the Gospel Of Luke, turn ‘Black Nativity’ into an all-around celebration of the season and our community.”

“We are honored to continue the tradition of staging this production at the Count Basie Center, which we’ve been doing since 2010.”

Willis’ next act at the Count Basie Center will be in the director’s chair, helming Basie Center community theatre company Phoenix Productions’ presentation of Ragtime – The Musical in March. Tickets for that show are on sale now through

Black Nativity at the Count Basie Center is directed by Willis, along with musical director Gwen Moten (also the music director of the Count Basie Center Gospel Choir), Production Stage Manager Janet Clarke Graham, Choreographer Amber Blue, Costume Designer Olivier Grant Wendall and Lighting Designer Mark Antonio Henderson.