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Taking Christmas Pageants To A Whole New Level

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Evangel Cathedral's "Christmas Celebration" production is a tradition that has been going on for more than 20 years.
Evangel Cathedral
Evangel Cathedral's "Christmas Celebration" production is a tradition that has been going on for more than 20 years.

In a theater larger than the most cavernous Broadway playhouse, Evangel Cathedral is presenting its annual Christmas play. The church, based in Upper Marlboro, Md., is one of the region's largest Black congregations. Over the past 21 years, the production has grown from a cast of 20, to more than 200.

It started off as a story about a family celebrating Christmas, says Pastor Peyton Gray. But now, he says, "it has grown from a church putting on a local play, to a national, full blown event."

The budget is reported in the high hundreds of thousands, a large slice of which goes to pay eight gospel singers, including Grammy winners BeBe Winans, CeCe Winans, and Fred Hammond.

Another major cost is the barnyard of live animals--including three camels--that act in each performance. The animals are professionals, working the rest of the year on Hollywood films.

Tickets for the show cost between $65 and $85 a seat, though you can sit in the back for $65. Sounds like a lot for a church play, Pastor Gray acknowledges, "but you have to remember" he says, "there's a segment of people who want really good Christian entertainment." Plus, he adds, this isn't your average church play.

[Music: "Santa's Got a Bag of Soul" by Soul Saints Orchestra from In the Christmas Groove / "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Big Rhythm Band from A Swingin' Christmas]

MC: Evangel Cathedral's Christmas Celebration

WAMU 88.5

Readers' Review: "The Good Lord Bird" By James McBride

For our next Readers' Review: National Book Award winner "The Good Lord Bird" by James McBride. The 2013 novel follows an enslaved boy who gets caught up in John Brown's abolitionist mission...and must disguise himself as a girl to survive.

WAMU 88.5

Busboys And Poets In Anacostia: Development Or Gentrification?

Local restaurant chain Busboys and Poets will soon open in Anacostia, which suffers from a dearth of dining and shopping options-- but some within the community are decrying the opening as gentrification.

WAMU 88.5

A Primary Challenge For A Top Arlington County Democrat

Could bipartisanship be the ouster of Arlington County's board chair?

NPR

In Omaha, A Library With No Books Brings Technology To All

The privately funded, $7 million Do Space provides free access to computers, high-end software, 3-D printers, and laser cutters. It's a learning and play space, as well as an office for entrepreneurs.

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