‘Black Nativity’

Opening Thursday: The Twin Cities’ most soulful holiday tradition returns for the 27th year under the direction of narrator Lou Bellamy. The production has varied over the years from oratorio to full staging, but the center of the story has remained constant. After a couple wander in the wilderness, the woman gives birth to a blessed child. Rejoicing and mirth ensue. Singing actors Dennis Spears (pictured) and Jamecia Bennett are among the “Nativity” headliners this year, backed by the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church choir under the direction of arranger Sanford Moore. The production also features choreography by Uri Sands of TU Dance fame. (7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat., 4 & 7:30 p.m. next Sun. $15-$40. Ends Dec. 20. Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. 651-224-3180, penumbratheatre.org.)

Rohan Preston