The Apollo Presents Classical Theater of Harlem’s "The First Noel"

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"The First Noel". Photo credit: Shahar Azran

The Apollo Theater proudly presents The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production of THE FIRST NOEL from December 10-18, 2016.
Following its world premiere in 2015 on the Theater’s soundstage, the Harlem-based holiday musical makes an unprecedented move to the Apollo’s mainstage this year, as part of the institution’s “Holidays at the Apollo” programming.

The musical features original music and reimagined classic carols —ranging from pop to jazz to gospel — and follows three generations of a Harlem family affected by tragedy to tell a universal story of love and belonging.

With an original book, music and lyrics by Lelund Durond Thompson (founder, YellaFella Entertainment) and Jason Michael Webb (Motown: The Musical, Violet and The Color Purple), Steve H. Broadnax III (Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root) serves as director and Brian Harlan Brooks (Motown: The Musical) is choreographer.

"The Apollo has supported the development of The First Noel for many years, and we are proud to present this [magnificent] musical on our mainstage following its hit run on our soundstage last season,” said Kamilah Forbes, the Apollo Theater’s Executive Producer. “The creative team [brilliantly] mixes musical genres to tell a story of family and hope that deepens our commitment to fostering musical innovation and to presenting works that engage our entire community and resonates across generations.”

“With my twenty years of experience in every facet of the theater world, I believed there was an opportunity to complement the existing holiday programming with a show that has an uptown, New York City aesthetic,” said Ty Jones, Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Producing Artistic Director.

“I hope that The First Noel will become a classic, seasonal offering on par with other beloved, locally based holiday productions. This story shows how a community is healed, one family at a time and exemplifies how ordinary people can do extraordinary things to help one another receive the gift of love at Christmas time.”

The company of THE FIRST NOEL is Brian D. Coats (as Skeeter; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Tina Fabrique (as Grandmother Ethel; Ragtime; Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk), Ashley Ware Jenkins (as Noel; The Color Purple national tour), Donald King Jr (as Benny Raindrop), Lizan Mitchell (as Lou; So Long on Lonely Street), Ken Robinson (as Henry; 2015 revival, The Color Purple), Soara-Joye Ross (as Deloris; Les Misérables), with Nia Caesar and Zariah Singletary as Young Noel. The ensemble features James Alexander, Angela Birchett, Jesse Corbin, Darius Crenshaw, Tamara Jade Fingal, Ayana George, LaTrisa A. Harper, Adam Hyndman, Sarita Amani Nash, Drew Shade, Chawntá Marie Van, Tiffany Webb and Helen White.

The design team for THE FIRST NOEL is Dan Robinson (scenic design), Rachel Dozier-Ezell (costume design), Alan C. Edwards (lighting design), and Curtis Craig (sound and projection design). Andrew Lederman returns as musical director.


The 10-show performance schedule for THE FIRST NOEL is:

Saturday, December 10 at 7:30pm

Sunday, December 11 at 5pm early evening

Monday, December 12 (DARK)

Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30pm (OPENING NIGHT)

Wednesday, December 14 at 2pm matinee

Wednesday, December 14 at 7:30pm

Thursday, December 15 at 7:30pm

Friday, December 16 at 7:30pm

Saturday, December 17 at 2pm matinee

Saturday, December 17 at 7:30pm

Sunday, December 18 at 2pm matinee
Performances of THE FIRST NOEL take place at the Apollo Theater Mainstage (253 West 125th Street, Harlem, NYC). The production is part of the “Holidays at the Apollo” family-friendly programming series. Recommended for ages 5+.

Tickets are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: 212-531-5305 (253 West 125th Street) and via 1-800-745-3000. Group Sales: 212-531-5355. Tickets range in price from $30 - $65. Apollo Advantage member pricing: $30 - $40.

To learn more, visit:

Follow the Apollo Theater:

Follow The Classical Theatre of Harlem:

THE FIRST NOEL received its world premiere at Apollo’s soundstage in December 2015 and was originally commissioned by The Classical Theatre of Harlem and in association with Penn State Centre Stage. THE FIRST NOEL is intended to become a new holiday classic, presented annually at the Apollo.

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