Black Nativity

Mention Langston Hughes, and most people place the author in the Harlem Renaissance, but he wrote one of his most durable works in 1961, at a powerful moment for the civil rights movement. At its core, Black Nativity is another Biblical recitation story from the book of Luke, where Mary and Joseph find last-minute shelter so she can give birth to a child. Hughes surrounded this narration with powerful elements from the black churches of his youth and the vibrant theatrical world of his adulthood, so that African drums and gospel singers herald the birth of Jesus. The work celebrates its own birthday this year, with a half-century of annual shows performed all around the country. This year's Seattle production is as much a resurrection as a birth, shifting producers from financially troubled Intiman to the Seattle Theatre Group. (Times vary. Runs daily through Dec. 24 except Mondays.) SANDRA KURTZ

Thu., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 9-24, 2011

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