Wasn’t it a mighty day?

Black Nativity is a retelling of the classic Nativity story with an entirely black cast. Traditional Christmas carols are sung in gospel style, with a few songs created specifically for the show. This stage play production was first performed Off-Broadway on December 11, 1961, and was one of the first plays written by an African American to be staged there.

The original name for this play was “Wasn’t It a Mighty Day?” Alvin Ailey was a part of the original Off-Broadway cast, but he and Carmen de Lavallade departed from the show prior to its opening, in a dispute over the title being changed to Black Nativity.

In 2004, a documentary film was made about the world premiere performance, production, and creation of the best-selling gospel Christmas album Black Nativity – In Concert: A Gospel Celebration, and the original cast, under the direction of Aaron Robinson that brought it to life at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland, Maine.

A film version directed by Kasi Lemmons and starring Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett was released on November 27, 2013.

Q: Who wrote the original stage play?

Langston Hughes

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