Dominion Entertainment has produced the show since 2012. Robert John Connor, who’s an executive producer and director of the production, said he’s always blown away by the quality of talent that’s in the show. He said about 10,000 people attend the show each year.
“This is, for the African American community, our “Christmas Carol,” our “Nutcracker.” ... We have a very fast rehearsal process — a two week rehearsal process,” Connor said. “But in that two weeks, we come back with a lot of choreography, a lot of staging, a lot of music to kind of create this experience of very talented artists from around the Atlanta area, who I would say confidently that there’s probably not that level of talent that you will see even on the Broadway stage.”
Credit: shoccara marcus
Credit: shoccara marcus
Lawrence Flowers, who plays a choir director and shepherd in the production, said the rehearsals feel like a bootcamp. He’s performed in the musical since 2014 and considers his castmates family.
“Being in a room of amazing talent and family, we get a chance to kind of feed off of each other, learn new things and kind of sharpen the skills that we have,” Flowers said. “Even though it’s a show that we’ve done so many times, we are challenged on a level that makes us better actors, better singers and better dancers.”
The camaraderie among the cast is so deep that the end of the production is always a bittersweet moment for Hagan.
“When we’re done, we miss each other. We get to the end and it’s almost over and it’s like ‘Oh my, I’m not gonna see you next week.’ This is a great time for us to get together and to share the gifts that God has blessed us with ― with each other and with the community.”
Flowers said “Black Nativity” has something in store for everyone — even those who are seeing it for the first time.
Flowers hopes it will help audiences understand their purpose, their relationships with one another and have “a real experience connected to love, fellowship and spirituality. This show is going to give that to you in a very unique, authentic but real way. It’s going to allow you to experience theater in a way that most people don’t get a chance to experience it.”
For Connor, “Black Nativity” is more than just a production. It’s a feeling that audiences won’t forget — and an experience.
“It is called an experience for a reason,” said Connor. “They can expect the music, they can expect the special level performances they can expect the feel. ... We have audiences from all walks of life. I would say that all faiths, all religious beliefs come in the room, just because it’s such a riveting experience.”
“Black Nativity: a Gospel Christmas Musical Experience”
Dec. 7-17. $39-$65. Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, 349 Ferst Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-894-9600, arts.gatech.edu.