Nativity: A Soulful Celebration

Nativity: A Soulful Celebration


In honor of the 51st anniversary of its Broadway debut, Common Ground Theatre will present a new adaptation of Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity” on December 1-16, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings and 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinees at the Educational Cultural Complex, 4343 Oceanview Blvd. 92113.

“Nativity: A Soulful Celebration” is a soul-stirring musical celebration adapted and directed by Charles Patmon, Jr., that uses narration, dance, spirituals, and gospel music to re-tell the story of Christmas. Louise Pearson, renowned music professor and choir director, is the musical director of “Nativity  Originally written by Langston Hughes, “Black Nativity”  was first performed on Broadway on December 11, 1961. Under Hughes’ pen, the piece is part re-enactment of the birth of Jesus, part church service, and part Christmas concert, composed entirely of gospel versions of traditional carols mixed with a few original tunes as well. Patmon’s new conceptualized version is a testament to the power of gospel music and the story of the Nativity told through the combination of scripture, poetry, dance, and songs that connect today to the time of mangers and swaddling cloths. Each joyous performance  brings the real meaning of faith and love to life for the entire family.

“It is exciting to produce such an historical play,” Director Charles W. Patmon, Jr. said.  “Because Common Ground Theatre is the oldest African American Theatre Arts Company in San Diego, it is befitting that we honor the legacy of Langston Hughes and his work with this production.  We are excited to continue in the tradition of the late director Dr. Floyd Gaffney with such a spectacular piece.”

CGT’s mission is to produce classics and new works by and about people of African descent that entertain, educate, and connect with audiences of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Its purpose is to produce high quality theatrical productions that offer a “common ground” where people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds can interact, connect and share their love of theatre. CGT envisions a culturally diverse, socially relevant, and politically aware theatre organization that nurtures the expertise of amateur and professional artists alike and improves community relations among diverse cultures and underrepresented groups.  Common Ground Theatre is supported by the San Diego Continuing Education Division, the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. and generous donations from individuals and organizations.

A portion of the proceeds from the production of “Black Nativity” will provide scholarships for students to attend Common Ground Theatre’s San Diego Theatre Artist Repertory School (STARS) program.  The STARS program is a new initiative created by Common Ground Theatre to build community through the arts by providing students of all ages and abilities with professional, affordable instruction in the performing, fine, and visual arts.  The next session will begin in January 2013.  For a schedule of classes and fees, please contact CGT Administrative Office at (619) 272-3209 or write to Common Ground Theatre,, P. O. Box 152443, San Diego, CA 92195.

“ Nativity”  will perform at the Educational Cultural Complex, 4343 Ocean View Blvd., San Diego, CA 92113, from December 1-16. A Preview will be held on Friday, November 30, (Free Admission with a toy donation)  and regular performances will be Fridays and Saturdays, December 1, 7-8, and 14-15 at 8:00 p.m., and  Sundays at 2:00 p.m  on  December 2, 9, and 16, .  Ticket prices are $20 for General Admission; $15 for Students/Military/Seniors, and $10 for children under age 12. General Admission discount tickets at $15 each are also available for groups of 10 or more. For more information and individual and group reservations, please contact Common Ground Theatre at (619) 272-2309.