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SunSpots: The Nativity - A Joyful Noise!

Stephanie's Just Hangin' Around!


Congo Square Returns with The Nativity

A joyful noise was heard on Monday, December 5th at Congo Square Theatre Company's opening night of The Nativity at Goodman Theater!  Now in its seventh year, this annual production is inspired by Langston Hughes' Black Nativity and tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.  While the vocals are consistently outstanding and the message consistently true to the Scripture, don't expect the same production every year!

In celebration of Congo Square's 2011-12 theme "Presence, Power, Perspective - Honoring the Black Woman," the role of Gabriel is performed magnificently by Alexis J. Rogers and, for the first time, the production is directed by a Black woman, Ilesa Duncan.  The performance opens with a beautiful arrangement of  "Two Thousand Years Ago," which definitely sets the stage for an evening of outstanding vocals and harmonies.  Jaret Landon, Musical Director/Composer/Arranger is to be commended for his unique take on some of the seasonal classics included in the production, including "O Holy Night," with stellar vocals by Bethany Thomas, and "What Child is This," performed by Byron G. Willis with amazing background harmonies.    

Kathleen Purcell Turner (Mary) and Kevin Dirckson (Joseph)

This year, The Nativity features the passionate choreography of Kevin Iega Jeff, the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and Nicole Springer.  Kathleen Purcell Turner and Kevin Dirckson bring passion, grace and athleticism to the roles of Mary and Joseph.  Kevin's artistic touch is also seen in the choreography of the actors, bringing his signature fluidity to their movement across the stage.  (Don't miss Deeply Rooted's "Chicago's Women of Song" on December 9th at Harris Theater!)

Following the performance, a woman seated behind me commented that she really appreciated that The Nativity remained true to the Biblical story.  True, but, the performance manages to do so without taking itself too seriously, adding contemporary elements and humor to the story.  You'll likely be tickled when the Three Kings of Orient "go to church" with "You Ought to Try the Lord" and stirred up by "Go Tell It On the Mountain!"  And if you, like me, think that King Herod's "head-piece" is slickly consistent with "Honoring the Black Woman" - drop me a line and a wink! 

Be sure to visit our FaceBook page to enter our ticket giveaways!  The Nativity continues through December 31st at Goodman Theater.  Ticket prices are $35-45, or take in a Saturday matinee with two-for-one tickets, thanks to Target!  Don't make the mistake of parking at the lot across the street, 'cuz it'll cost ya $23!  Instead, take advantage of discounted, validated parking  at the lot on Lake Street between Dearborn and Clark Streets.

The Nativity The Ensemble



King Herod and Gabriel John Steven Crowley (King Herod) and Alexis J. Rogers (Gabriel)

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