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  • Writer's pictureKaren Brittingham-Edmond

Dunbar Repertory Theatre Company's Presentation Of Langston Hughes's Play "Black Nativity" At The Count Baise Theater In Red Bank Was Phenomenal!

January 23, 2024

Photo Source: Echo News TV L.L.C. Photographer Karen Brittingham-Edmond

Retired Theater Director of Brookdale Community College Professor Darryl Lawerence Willis Sr took the audience by storm with Dunbar's Repertory Theatrical performance of Langston Hughes's "Black Nativity." The play was directed by Professor Willis and musical director Gwen Moten, Production Stage Manager Janet Clarke Graham, Choreographer Amber Blue, Costume Designer Olivier Grant Wendall, and Lighting Designer Mark Antonio Henderson.

Photo Source: Echo News TV L.L.C. Photographer Karen Brittingham-Edmond

Many talented community actors and actresses from Monmouth County, NJ, who are the people in your neighborhood, workplace, and church, did a splendid job performing and praising God at The Count Baises Theater on Dec 30, 2023. The intergenerational performers brought a common thread of integrity that reached all audiences of various ages. 

Photo Source: Echo News TV L.L.C. Photographer Karen Brittingham-Edmond

Stage performers shared their talents of singing, dancing, and reciting an original African American play produced by Hughes in 1961 that would make you jump out of your seat and do at least two holy ghost laps around the auditorium! Elder Antonious Thigpen of Pillars of Harvest Ministries, located in Long Branch, N.J., gave onlookers an inspirational performance that led spectators with a closer walk with thee, oh Lord. Dunbar Repertory Company was founded initially at Brookdale Community College in 1987 to raise funds for the Black Student Union (BSU) for many years.

Once again, the extraordinary theatrical performance of Black Nativity at the Count Baise Theater located in Red Bank, N.J., was an awe-inspiring encounter that captivated the audience from beginning to end. The seamless combination of exceptional acting, engaging and culturally sensitive storyline, impressive set design, and thrilling music brought onlookers closer to God and into a state of wonder. The lighting, music, and sounds complement the performance of passion-lit actors and actresses, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere that immerses the audience in the story of Langston Hughes's play "The Black Nativity."


"Black Nativity" is a play written by Langston Hughes that retells the story of the Nativity through gospel music and dance. The play follows the journey of a young man named Langston who, after being sent to stay with his grandparents in Harlem, experiences a spiritual awakening during a Christmas Eve church service. The characters in the play are all African-American, and the gospel music and traditional African music accompanying the play reflect the African-American culture. The play explores faith, family, and community themes and celebrates the African-American heritage. "Black Nativity" has been performed in theaters and churches across the United States and has become a beloved holiday tradition for many.

In closing, Dunbar's Repertory Theatrical performance of Langston Hughes's "Black Nativity." was an overall success plus a masterpiece performance that leaves everyone who attends with a lasting impression that will make the audience come back each year and bring a friend or two to enjoy this awe-inspiring play.

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