New Freedom Theatre Celebrates the Return of Holiday Treat BLACK NATIVITY

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New Freedom Theatre celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season with three mainstage productions including a return of its annual holiday favorite BLACK NATIVITY: AN AFRICAN HOLIDAY MUSICAL PLAY, the Philadelphia premiere of MOTHER EMANUEL: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL PLAY, and the Tony Award-winning blockbuster DREAMGIRLS. All three musical productions will be directed and choreographed by New Freedom Theatre’s new artistic director Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj.

“Our three play series this past summer was both a critical and popular success and encouraged us to present our first mainstage season in several years. This series, celebrating both our past and our future during this special anniversary year, affirms that New Freedom Theatre is back – and continues to be an iconic cultural institution in Philadelphia now and in the future!” said Sandra Norris Haughton, Executive Producing Director.

BLACK NATIVITY: AN AFRICAN HOLIDAY MUSICAL PLAY, running November 30-December 18, is one of New Freedom Theatre’s staple theater pieces, presented this year with an updated twist by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj. Set in modern-day Darfur to shed light on the struggles of those living in overcrowded refugee camps and using a combination of gospel music, African music and traditional carols, the musical addresses the continuing struggles in Darfur, telling an ancient story in a fresh and poignant new voice.

MOTHER EMANUEL: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL PLAY, winner of the 2016 New York International Fringe Award for Outstanding Musical, ushers in spring on April 12-23. A documentary theater piece written by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Adam Mace and Christian Lee Branch, MOTHER EMANUEL is a dramatic interpretation of the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015 when nine people were killed. Powerful and stirring, the play travels through the past and present lives of these nine men and women in the last hours of their lives.

The groundbreaking Tony Award-winning musical DREAMGIRLS concludes the 50th Anniversary season on June 14-25. Following the career of an iconic R&B girl group as they navigate the competitive and racially-biased music industry, this questions the true price of success and what is means to fight for your dreams against all odds.

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Founded in 1966 by John E. Allen, Jr. New Freedom Theatre is Pennsylvania’s oldest African American theater and one of only five in the nation whose mission supports the African American dramatic arts, producing both new and established plays. Recently New Freedom Theatre instituted free community events including the Edwin Forrest Reading Series, a monthly series showcasing lost African American plays and subject matter, and Freedom Speaks modelled after the Harlem Renaissance Salons and featuring diverse voices discussing how the arts can relate to issues affecting the neighboring community. New Freedom Theatre is housed in the historic Edwin Forrest Mansion at Broad and Master Streets.