Black Nativity is a retelling of the classic Nativity story with an entirely black cast. Traditional Christmas carols are sung in gospel style, with a few songs created specifically for the show. Originally written by Langston Hughes, the show was first performed on Broadway on December 11, 1961, and was one of the first plays written by an African-American to be staged there. It has been performed in Boston, Massachusetts at Tremont Temple since 1969. The original 160 singers were arranged by age group and vocal range, with an assortment of soloists, along with the narrator, and Mary and Joseph, who are both mute. The show began with the theater completely darkened. Barefoot singers clad only in white robes and carrying (electric) candles walked in, singing the classic hymn "Go Tell It on the Mountain". The birth of Jesus was one of the most dramatic aspects of the show. The stage, previously lit with orange and blue lights, was bathed in a deep red hue.
Contributions by Music4ibc, Leroytwist, and Esowteric.