Black Arts MKE
Press Release

Black Nativity by Langston Hughes 2019 Holiday Musical Celebrates 5th Anniversary at Marcus Center’s Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 North Water Street, Downtown Milwaukee.

By - Nov 20th, 2019 03:14 pm

MILWAUKEE, WI (WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2019)Black Nativity by Langston Hughes will run December 5-15 with a special Community Night preview performance on Thursday, December 5 at the Marcus Center’s Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall.

Directed by returning phenom Antoine Reynolds for the first time this year, the production features his knockout crowd-pleasing musical arrangements.  Reynolds explains, “The music is inspired by the emotional journey Mary and Joseph had to endure while bringing the savior into the world. As glorious as the occasion was, the endurance throughout the turmoil surrounding the process speaks to the resiliency and determination that comes with being called by God. The arrangements of the music in this production are designed to take you on that journey.”

The production features fresh new choreography by Christopher Gilbert returning for his second year. Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a Black Arts MKE production in collaboration with the Marcus Performing Arts Center.  This year’s presentation is supported by Bader Philanthropies, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Johnson Controls Foundation, and United Performing Arts Fund

Some of Milwaukee’s favorite performers return this year as well as some joining Black Nativity by Langston Hughes for the first time.  Brielle Richmond a recent graduate of Marquette University and a former Black Nativity by Langston Hughes intern, joins the cast as Mary. New to the cast, Joey Jackson-Streeter takes on the role of Joseph.  Returning cast members include Tasha McCoy, Cynthia Cobb (Skylight Theater’s Porgy and Bess, Gershwin and Friends, Ain’t Misbehavin’, sings the show stopping number “Rise Up Shepherd” as the Angel of the Lord), Michaela Usher, Raven Dockery, Brandite Reed and youth ensemble members Clara Adams, Zephaniah Singh Ponder, Carolyn Stampley and Naima Gaines. Additional new members include Alesia Miller, Brian Crawford, and youth ensemble members Zion Singh Ponder and Zoe Chambers.

We’re celebrating our fifth year and the West African concept of “Sankofa” – looking back over the last five years to bring Black Nativity 2.0 into the future in order to make positive progress, says Barbara Wanzo, Executive Producer. Black Nativity by Langston Hughes will continue to address important social issues. Each year, we welcome more than 1,200 youth from city neighborhood schools thanks to our Inspiring Our Youth sponsor Johnson Controls Foundation. This year, we hope everyone will come to experience the joy and magic of the holidays by celebrating this fabulous cultural musical gift to the community.

“The Marcus Performing Arts Center understands the importance of African American arts in our community for the ENTIRE community” says Paul Mathews. Mathews, President and CEO of the Marcus Center. “As the community’s performing arts center, we strive for inclusiveness.  It is our vision at the Marcus Center to provide the setting for outstanding arts experiences like Black Nativity by Langston Hughes for all of Milwaukee’s cultures.”

Black Nativity by Langston Hughes opens Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 15.  Special pricing will be available for Community Night on December 5. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 North Water Street, Downtown Milwaukee, by phone at 414-273-7206 or online at or   Groups of 10 or more should call Group Sales at 414-273-7121, x210 or x213. Special church group pricing is also available.  For more information, visit


Black Arts MKE’s mission is to increase the availability and quality of African American arts.  Each year, we collaborate with over 100 local artists and arts organizations to bring to our community renowned and original performance arts works by African American authors, playwrights, poets, musicians, and composers.  Our arts education and community outreach programs serve over 15,000 at-risk youth and their families including our new Youth Performing Arts Summer Camp.  Black Arts MKE’s annual signature performance – Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a new holiday musical favorite in Milwaukee featuring an all-black, all local cast.  Black Arts MKE is a proud Affiliate Member of United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) and Resident Group at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  Black Arts MKE is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.


Established in 1969, the Marcus Performing Arts Center is the premier performing arts community gathering space in Southeastern Wisconsin. As the Marcus Center celebrates its 50th anniversary, it continues to build bridges between diverse members of our community through high-quality arts entertainment in the region and the state. The touring Broadway series, sponsored by Johnson Financial Group, is recognized as bringing the best of Broadway entertainment to Milwaukee for the past 20 years and provides opportunities to educate, entertain and engage audiences. The Marcus Center is also the home to the Milwaukee Symphony, Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera, First Stage plus a variety of other important community and family events throughout the year. For more information about events visit the Marcus Center website at The Marcus Center is a private non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation and is a dedicated veterans memorial in Milwaukee.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

Recent Press Releases by Black Arts MKE

Full Schedule Released and Tickets On-Sale for the 2023 MKE Black Theatre Festival, August 9-27

A 3-week-long festival featuring free events across the city designed to support Black creatives and two full-production ticketed plays: MUD ROW and THE MEETING

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us