December 1 – 30, 2009
Choir with Sanjaya Malakar. Photo by Chris Bennion, 2009.
Ladies and gentlemen it is time to stand up and give thanks to the Intiman Theater and the people who make it what it is! For those who join the celebration that is Black Nativity this year, and every year, there is no choice but to stand up and praise whatever it is you choose. It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Hindi or you “ain’t got none” denomination or creed, Black Nativity is a moving and exciting choral event to kick off the holiday season right.
For those who have seen the show before, it is much the same as it has been in past years. Perhaps the current eco-political situations that we find ourselves in currently have made more of an impact than we imagined on the arts community, though. It seems to me that Black Nativity at the Intiman Theater hits home a little more-so this year than in the past. Something about Jacqueline Moscou’s direction and the collaboration of the performers and directors has led this production into a whole new world of joy and celebration in a time when we truly need to take a step out of ourselves in order to find any strength left to celebrate.
Not to detract from the uplifting mood thus far, but there are some rumors that must be squashed immediately. We have all heard that after twelve seasons of Black Nativity Intiman will no longer be hosting this holiday tradition. This is true in one regard and untrue in another. Though Black Nativity will conclude its twelve year run in the Intiman’s space at the end of this production’s run, Intiman will continue to produce the show in a new space yet to be determined. It has become apparent to those who bring us such wonderful shows as this that the capacity of Intiman’s space is not grand enough to host a show like Black Nativity year after year. There needs to be a larger space. One that is able to accommodate those families who realize halfway through the run that they will, in fact, be able to see it. As of now, those families are turned away because tickets are already nearly sold out for at least half of the run. However, with the plans that are in the works according to Brian Colburn, Managing Director, space will be secured for next year’s production with much more seating accommodations. And as Jacqueline Moscou said, “there isn’t another theater who could host this show.”
As far as this year’s production goes, it was fantastic. I have never had the opportunity to see Black Nativity and I can’t express enough how much fun this show is as long as you keep an open mind and a full and receptive heart. Absorbing the message of love from this show is not hard. With such fantastic soloists as – but not limited to – Sanjaya Malakar (of American Idol 2007 fame), this show is a festival of song and celebration from start to finish. The Total Experience Gospel Choir truly brings to life the heart of the celebration that is the holiday season and gives that gift of love and excitement to every person in the audience.
Through song and community, we can overcome any difference and overreach the boundaries that keep us apart. Black Nativity is the perfect way to start our quest for understanding and love in a world that desperately needs a prescription-sized dose of compassion.
Review by Andrew J. Perez