By John Horn
8:00 PM CST, January 28, 2013
Fox Searchlight Pictures has commenced production in New York on the musical “Black Nativity,” director Kasi Lemmons’ adaptation of the Langston Hughes play.
The cast of the all-black interpretation of the nativity story includes Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson, Luke James and singers Jacob Latimore and Nas.
Lemmons also wrote the screenplay with lyrics and arrangements by rhythm and blues singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq (the band Tony! Toni! Toné!).
“The ‘Black Nativity’ story has been an integral part of American theatre and culture since 1961 and it remains a significant work today with productions staged each year all across the nation,” Claudia Lewis, Fox Searchlight’s president of production, said in a statement.
Said Lemmons in a statement: “This is a universal story of faith and family, a marker of our times, and an endearing Christmas tale, infused with music from hip-hop to R&B to gospel.”
“Black Nativity” opened off-Broadway in 1961 and has been performed frequently over the following 51 years.