Star Bright 

It's shaping up to be a good holiday season for Ekundayo Bandele, executive director and playwright-in-residence for the Hattiloo Theatre. The best news is that the new Hattiloo, which broke ground in Overton Square three months back, is coming together even faster than expected, and he plans to announce the venue-opening show in January. If Scrooge Was a Brother, Bandele's take on the Dickens classic, opened at Chicago's eta Creative Arts Foundation last week, where it runs through December 29th. On the home front, he is opening his newest Christmas play, The North Star: An Urban Nativity.

"Langston Hughes' Black Nativity gets turned into a concert," Bandele says of the play. "I really wanted to tell the story of what happens at the Nativity. And to tell it like I've never seen it done, in a way that I think would be interesting for me to watch."

Bandele's Nativity is contemporary, but he digs into the source material to tell the story of a poor carpenter, a pregnant virgin, the people who love them, the people who wonder at them, and a big bright light in the sky.

"It's suspenseful," Bandele says of a show that, for the most part, takes place in the 24 hours leading up to Christ's birth.

"It's much more about Mary and Joseph and their relationship than it is about Christ," Bandele says.

"The North Star: An Urban Nativity" at the Hattiloo Theatre, December 5th-22nd. $18-$25. hattiloo.org

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