|By Silver Hogue
|Staff Photo: Chris McGathey
TeCo Theatrical Productions will perform Black Nativity through Dec. 21 at the Bishop Arts Theater Center on Tyler Street.
TeCo Theatrical Pro-ductions opened its holiday season with the first of many African-American themed productions.
The company, which performs at Bishop Arts Theater Center on Tyler Street, debuted Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity to a packed house of spectators Dec. 4. The play, which will run through Dec. 21, is directed by H.J. Stewart and features a cast of 10 performers.
“The production was truly inspiring and a blessing,” said audience member Serena Wills.
Stewart said opening weekend was a huge success.
“The show is meant to be more of a celebration that challenges you and welcomes you to the holiday season,” he said. “We want to put people in a good place because the holidays can be a stressful time. Hopefully, we brought some joy.”
This is the third year TeCo has produced Black Nativity, but this is the first time the production has featured New Arts Six, a performing arts ensemble devoted to the preservation of African-American music, poetry, and literature.
“The cast really rose to the occasion,” Stewart said. “We were really lucky to have New Arts Six perform with us. It really added some spice and soul to the show.”
Black Nativity is the first of several upcoming shows that will feature an African-American theme — leading up to Black History Month in February.
Several productions are slated to begin early next year, including a jazz show by ALW Neo-Soul and a performance of The Audacity of Hope: A Celebration of African American Achievement. The latter will feature local actors Alex Bujvon, Keith Anderson, and Alatha Renee, who will pay homage to important history makers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Maya Angelou, and Jesse Owens.
Mayela Cavillo, manager of TeCo, said she believes the upcoming season will be a success for two very special reasons.
“We had a sold-out performance last weekend,” Cavillo said. “I think the fact that the playwright is African-American and the results of the presidential election greatly contributed to the increased numbers of attendees we had at the show this year.”