Religious Themes Expressed on Local Stages

Image by Allen Weeks

Black Nativity

The holiday season is a time when reflection on faith-based ideas takes place within hearts and minds of people of all kinds of backgrounds. Penumbra Theatre is presenting one of the region’s most enduring Christmas stage traditions with Black Nativity by the iconic black writer, Langston Hughes, considered by many to have been gay. Musical director Sanford Moore and director Lou Bellamy once again lead a marvelous cast of some of the top Twin Cities singer-actors: Greta Oglesby, Dennis Spears, Yolande Bruce and the Kingdom Life Church Choir. Hear such timeless carols as O Come and Ye Faithful and Go Tell it on the Mountain. Jennifer Whitlock narrates with choreography by Uri Sands.

The Chanukah Guest. Photo by Sarah Whiting

The Chanukah Guest

Minnesota Jewish Theatre returns with its hit commissioned work, The Chanukah Guest by Jenna Zark. Based on the book by Eric Kimmel, we meet the lovable Bubba Brayna, renowned for her delicious latkes—i.e. a type of potato pancake—which she prepares for the first night of Chanukah. In addition, the acclaimed Kim Kivens plays the role along with Bradley Hildebrandt as the Rabbi and the Bear and Josh Bagley as a boy named David. You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the magic, though it will be a wonderful opportunity for anyone to experience Jewish culture at its most endearing. Directed by Craig Johnson. Scenic design by Kirby Moore.

Freedom Daze. Photo by Sean Smuda

Freedom Daze

Exposed Brick Theatre delves into serious issues about discrimination against Muslims in Aamera Siddiqui’s Freedom Daze at the Southern Theater. Misconceptions and prejudices against those of the Islamic faith are given voice with a cast that includes Mohamed Yabdri, who recently gave a fine gender-nonconforming performance in Frank Theatre’s The Visit. Siddiqui takes a hard look at how both major American political parties have created an atmosphere of unfair and unjust treatment. Also featuring Lauren Rae Anderson, Alex Barreto Hathaway, Eliza Rasheed, Siddeeqah Shabazz, and the playwright herself. Directed by Suzy Messerole, who served as co-artistic director of the GLBT-oriented Outward Spiral Theatre Company.
Black Nativity
Through Dec. 23
Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul
(651) 224-3180
The Chanukah Guest
Through Dec. 18
Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul
(651) 647-4315
Freedom Daze
Through Dec. 9
Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis

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